CRAWFORD COUNTY - At the Conservation Awards Ceremony held at the Crawford county Fair, county Conservationist named the Jens Leirmo family ‘Farm Family of the Year.’
“The Crawford County Land Conservation Committee annually selects one farm family to highlight for the successful, conservation-minded operation they run within the county,” Troester said. “To be selected as the Farm Family of the Year requires having balance between having a successful operation and putting forth extra effort to protect the environment. This year’s winner is Leirmo Farm.”
Jens Leirmo immigrated to this area from Norway in 1912. He eventually bought the home farm in the Town of Freeman in 1920. His son David took over the management of the farm in 1956 after graduating from Luther College. Brothers John and Olaf joined the operation in the late 70’s. John’s boys, Mike and Jay, have been farming with them since for about the last decade as well.
Tobacco was grown on the property from 1920-2002, with some years raising up to 25 acres at the height of production. They have also raised hogs and beef over the years, with dairy being their primary focus up until 2001.
“John said recently that their conservation principle is pretty simple- to keep the soil in place as much as possible. Healthy and productive soil helps them grow better crops and reduces erosion, helping to keep our water clean,” Troester said. “Some of the practices and structures they implement on the farm include no-till (which they began way back in the mid-80’s), dams, water ways, contour strips, field borders and cover crops. Speaking of cover crops, the Leirmos participated in three years of the county’s aerial seeding project.
The Leirmos work extensively with the Crawford County NRCS office. They are signed up for both CSP and EQIP to work on conservation issues. They enrolled their woods in the DNR’s Managed Forest Law program to help promote sustainable forest on their property.
When asked what the future holds for the farm, John told me, “With four generations already on this family farm, we want to ensure that it remains sustainable for future generations. Keeping our soil in place is the biggest concern as the severe weather patterns we’re seeing threaten to take away our productive topsoil. That is what keeps the farm sustainable for the next generation.”“For their dedication to conservation farming, the Crawford County Land Conservation Committee is proud to present the 2019 Farm Family of the Year Award to Leirmo Farm,” Troester said.