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Matt 3

Matt Leischner

Co-Owner of South Branch Farms with operations in South Dakota

How many generations has your family been farming?  

“I am the 5th generation of farmers.”

Where are your operations and within what geography do you operate?  

“We operate a row crop farm in South Eastern South Dakota.”

What crops do you grow and how diverse is your operation? 

“We grow corn and soybeans with a little hay and cereal crops when appropriate.”

Why did you decide to get into farming?  

“Like many farmers, it was what I grew up doing. I toyed around with the idea of electrical engineering as I was nearing the end of high school, but when I saw the courses required I quickly started looking for an alternative. I settled on Agricultural Systems Technology at South Dakota State University. This education really sparked my passion for agriculture and put me on the path to return home to the farm.”

What is your favorite part of farming?  

“Harvest, minus the harvest of 2018!”

What is one thing that would surprise people about farming? 

“I don’t think people realize the amount of science that goes into farming, and how far we have come in the quality of products we are producing while using less and less resources.”

What tech do you use today to look at land/do business? 

“We use many different platforms to perform our day-to-day operations; spreadsheets, soil surveys, multiple GIS platforms, and other software. They all help us to be more efficient in producing our products.”

What is the biggest issue facing farming today?  

“Separation of the average person from the farm is a big challenge. We need to do a better job of communicating how we are being a conservationist. One of the big buzz words in Ag today is sustainable. It was asked of me once, why do we want to sustain a degraded resource? We need to be working not to sustain our resources but to improve them.”

What kinds of things do you think we should be doing to encourage more people to pursue a career in agriculture?  

“Unless you have family in agriculture it is very hard to get started, not impossible, but hard. I think we need to communicate that it is OK to not be an owner of an Ag enterprise. If you develop skills that can be utilized in some sort of Ag business, you can be just as vital to the operation as the owner and probably get paid more.”

Why did you decide to join the CIBO Farmer Advisory Network?  

“The opportunity to help craft a system to make farming more efficient.”

What are you hoping to get out of the board? 

“Hopefully, I can provide some insight as to what is needed here on the ground.”

What type of feedback are you looking forward to contributing to the board? 

“Actual, in the field usefulness.”

What do you hope CIBO can make better?  

“General ease of use of data in agriculture.”

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