The Redeker family - conservation farm family of the year

Photo by Wendy Davis

SWCD representative Charles Leitz gives the Redeker family — represented by Taylor, Amie, Mark, Martha, Ken, and John Redeker — the  2017 Conservation Farm Family plaque at Tuesday’s meeting.

The 2017 Conservation Farm Family is the Redeker family.

The family was honored at Tuesday’s Iroquois County Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting, a breakfast at the Farm Bureau office in Gilman.

The family lives south of Crescent City, and farms in Belmont, Crescent, Iroquois and Onarga townships. Ken and Martha run the farm, but their son Mark and his family work the land.

“It’s a honor,” said Mark on the fact that the family was recognized for what they’ve done.

“We just try to take care of what we God gave us; leave it better than we found it.”

He said it’s nice, yet challenging at times, to work together as a family. “It’s different, but it’s rewarding. It’s a challenge but it’s always fun.”

Thad Eshleman, SWCD resource conservationist, explained what brought the family to his attention to receive the award.

The farm started in 1892 by John Redeker Sr., which passed the farm to John Jr., to Ken, to Mark, and eventually, his son John.

Ken purchased 18 dairy cattle, beginning a dairy farm, 60 years ago.

The family grows alfalfa and grasses for hay and have planted sudex/sudangrass as part of the feed for the cattle. They also grow corn, soybeans and wheat in the crop rotation.

“Structural practices installed include a rock scute, often used where pipe drop structures become too large and expensive due to the size of the drainage area, and a concrete headwall. The Redekers also maintain 5,400 feet of terraces and two acres of grass waterway on another farm. A total of 16 acres are currently in filter strips and in 1028 4.8 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pollinator will be planted.”

Mark has been involved with the NRCS Conservation Steward Program since 2015.

“Drift reducing spray nozzles, Haney tests, nitrogen and urease inhibitors, pre-sidedress nitrate tests, stalk tissue tests, and cover crops, including intense cover cropping and deep rooted cover crops, are among the many enhancements he has incorporated on his farms for the benefit of soil health, soil organic matter, nutrient management, and the improvement of overall crop health,” Eshleman said.