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Blog: http://familyfarmexperience.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/paul_lanoue2

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My Story

I am the 4th generation to farm in my family where we raised corn, soybean and hogs. As a high school freshman I bought my first beef cow, started working on a cow/calf farm and have been expanding my herd and cattle knowledge since then. My wife and I are 1/3 owners of our 160 head black commercial cow/calf herd. Additionally, I farm 330 acres of conventional corn and soybeans on rented ground. I work very closely with my father-in-law and his brother, trading labor for use of their modern and technologically advanced equipment. Together the three of us farm nearly 2500 acres. I began my adult career as a high school Agricultural Education and FFA Advisor in 2003 growing our program to be recognized at the state and national levels for involvement and quality of programming. In 2012, I switched to the role of Farm Business Management instructor for Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

How We’re SMART Farming Today

As a farmer, I have many tools available to help farm more efficiently.  One of the tools that I use is GPS on my farm equipment. It helps me drive straight to reduce fuel consumption from overlap, but that’s just a start.  We mark coordinates and take soil samples in our fields to determine soil health and the nutrients needed to grow crops most efficiently and then place just the right amount of fertilizer in just the right location. As a caretaker of the land, I have planted grass buffers along lakes and streams to minimize erosion that are cut after pheasant hatching season and used to feed my cows in the winter.  We also rotate our cows in the pastures to allow for plant diversity and create opportunities for wildlife habitat. 

How I’ve Told My Story

As a young farmer, I feel a passion to share the positive story of agriculture with our consumers.  As a former teacher, I have a very broad base of contacts and can get a fairly accurate pulse of perceptions of an average consumer. I am often thinking of ways that I can share my experiences with others so they can see all of the activity that is happening on the farm. My wife and I are the host site for Skype sessions with an urban school in our state.  We are able to open our barn doors without having a busload of kids go back with manure on their shoes.  Students have been able to climb in a tractor and mix a load of feed and then help feed it to the steers.

Organizations/Affiliates

Lyon County Farm Bureau, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Southwest Minnesota State University Ag Advisory Committee, Marshall FFA Alumni, Lyon County 4-H, Lyon County Extension Committee, Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators, Southwest Minnesota Cattlemen Association, Lyon County Corn and Soybeans Growers