It all started with a piece of land and a vision…a vision to learn, educate, and understand what it is like to walk the footsteps of a farmer, from planning to planting, irrigating to harvest, and those sleepless nights when the storms pass through, not knowing what will remain of the crops we so diligently worked to grow.
Our story started in 2017 in Aurora, NE with 65 acres, and David City, NE with 24 acres. The first year we were searching for that “silver bullet.” What we soon realized was that improving a farm takes more than a silver bullet. It takes hard work, persistence, patience, and Mother Nature to cooperative.
After realizing a magical solution wasn’t attainable, we went back to focusing on many of the fundamentals that have built farms over many years. Focusing on soil fertility, managing variability, and making informed decisions based on information from grid sampling, we used this process to identify and fix factors that were yield-limiting.
In an effort to conduct research on additional farming systems and soil types, 200 acres were added in Hastings, NE for the 2018 growing season. Again, we learned that it would take time to achieve the goals we set on this farm. The previous year, we were left the gift of volunteer corn and weed management issues. Fertility was once again a challenge, with low pH levels in our dryland and implementing management practices for furrow irrigated cropland. With these field, we wanted to diversify and expand into a new area. Over the years, we have learned that good management in dryland scenarios will still show results that prove to yield.
An opportunity presented itself to expand into a sandy loam and high pH environment, so we added 33 acres in Central City, NE in 2020 and 40 acres in Central City, NE in 2021. We have learned immensely through trial and error, grid soil samples, tissue samples, data, research, and teamwork. Our goal is simple: help Aurora Cooperative’s farmers succeed one step at a time.
Peek at our 2021 Research and Development Book.