Mentor Categories: Corn / Soybeans, Cover Crops, No-Till, Perennials, Small Grains, and Specialty Crops
My name is Tom Fick and I live on and operate the family farm I grew up on near Luverne. I raise corn, soybeans, oats & rye in a rotation on my farm. I also raise alfalfa and grass, which I bale into small square bales for the horse & hobby farmer market. I started incorporating cover crops into my rotation in 2013. I have used berseem, crimson & red clovers, oats and cereal rye as cover crops. I am in the process of planning out my cover crops field-by-field, using multi-species mixes to address my soil-health goals for that particular field.
We are also in the process of switching over our tillage to no-till or as little tillage as possible.
I really like what I see from the use of cover crops on my farm. Starting with my dad, we have always had some small grain and alfalfa on our farm so we already have the benefits of crop rotation in many of our fields. Adding cover crops just extends the growing season on this farm, and expands the improvements that crop rotation offers to more acres. I have seen the benefits of reduced soil erosion and better soil health because of an increase in soil microbial activity. The organic matter of the soils on my various farms ranges from 4.7% to 5.7% and is slowly increasing as time goes on.
Now some info about my personal life. My wife Jodi is the director of Siouxland Libraries in Sioux Falls, SD. We were married in 1987 and we have 2 adult children. Our son Ben lives and works here in Luverne and our daughter Erin is married and lives & works in Lincoln, Nebraska
I graduated from Luverne High School in 1982 and from Canby AVTI (now Minnesota West – Canby) in 1984 with an associate degree in Farm Business Operations and Management. After graduation, I worked for a custom spraying business for 2 summers and for a neighboring farmer for 2 years after that. In 1988 I took a position at our local Case-IH dealer, setting up equipment and working on planters in the spring and combines in the fall. I also started farming part-time. In 1994 I was offered a chance to rent another farm so I resigned my position with Case-IH and started farming full-time.
We started a family about this time as well and I took on an additional job of driving bus for the Luverne school district, a position which I still have to this day.
I have served on various boards and committees at St. John Lutheran Church in Luverne, and am currently the President-Elect of the congregation. I served on the Rock County Corn & Soybean Association board for several years in the early 2000’s, and participated in the ASA Soybean Leadership College during that time.
I currently serve as a supervisor for Luverne Township and have been a member of the Rock County Cover Crop/Soil Health Team since its inception in 2016. I was a recipient of the Cover Crop Champion award from the National Wildlife Federation in 2017
I am excited to be a board member of the newly-formed Minnesota Soil Health Coalition and also hold the position as Treasurer of the organization.
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