Who We Are

Al Schmidt, President
Al farms in the Town of Jackson on about 320 acres of homestead land and rents another 100 acres nearby. His family started farming on 20 acres of Wisconsin land back in 1872. He primarily grows hay and makes bales for horse and cow feed, along with some acres of soybeans, corn and wheat. Al is a conventional farmer who over the past couple of years has been using cover crops and minimal vertical tillage practices on his land. Al emphasizes the importance of farming smart and learning from each other. His nutrient management plan helps him be a more cost efficient farmer, analyzing what his land already has and what it still needs. His excitement to learn more about farming practices that reduce water run-off and soil erosion, keeping local creek and water systems clean, has helped fuel his persistence in utilizing cover crop and minimal to no-till agricultural practices. 

Ross Bishop
Ross owns and operates a Black Angus beef cattle and cash cropping farm in the Town of Jackson. For 25 years now, nearly 700 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat have been in a no-till conservation system; nine of which have included cover crop mixes in rotation. The beef cattle are raised for both private and commercial sales, while commodity crops are used for local feed, sold to WI ethanol plants, or purchased by companies to be shipped overseas. Ross is a part of this watershed group because he’d like to teach others and learn from other farmers while continuing to improve the Cedar Creek Watershed by being a good farmer, neighbor and steward of the land.

Lee Kissinger
Lee, along with his two sons, manage nearly 1,200 acres in a corn, soybean and winter wheat rotation in the Polk and Jackson township area. Most of Lee’s fields have a high residue cover, with more recent years attempting to employ mostly no-till; some tillage is done to break down residue, reduce compaction and to help dry certain fields. On steeper fields to control erosion he includes hay in rotation which is fed to his 50 beef cow/calf operation. All grain is sold to market with the cattle being provided grain screening and surplus grain in an effort to produce the highest quality of grain marketable. In 1993, the farm purchased its first no-till drill by participating in the Cedar Creek Priority Watershed Project. Lee believes that we need to preserve water quality and keep soil in place. Not wanting to close a door on opportunity, he believes in leading by example and that Producer-Led groups can be a great avenue for people to learn.

Terry Kohl
Terry owns and operates an Black Angus beef cow/calf and cash cropping farm in the Village of Richfield. His main crop rotation on 1,100 acres consists of corn, soybeans and wheat; most of which is no-tilled with occasional spring vertical tillage to help break down residue and dry the fields. Cover crops have been a part of the operation for the last 10 years, strictly following wheat. He is passionate about soil health and wants to educate his farm neighbors and the non-farm community about its importance for water quality. Along the way he wishes to continue learning more from his peers in the watershed group. 

Stan Miller
Stan is a 4th generation cash grain farmer in the Cedar Creek Watershed-Town of Jackson. He works full time off the farm while running 550 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. This operation (growing from 300 to 550 acres) has been possible because he has practiced no-till (with some minimal tillage) since 2000. Including cover crops in rotation is the next step in soil health; in late summer 2017 mixes were drilled in after oats. Stan would like to lead by example and is willing to talk about and share his experiences with others. Working with his peers will provide an education he can take back to the farm as well. 

Brian Peters
Brian is a 5th generation Holstein dairy farmer who recently purchased the farm from his parents in January 2017. Maple Woods Dairy Farm, in the Town of Polk, has been in the family since 1888 and has remained a small, traditional 55 cow/55 young stock operation with 180 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa. Additional agricultural hobbies include producing maple syrup in the spring and growing pumpkins for the fall. A small amount of cover crops have been used in the past year or two as he continues to learn how they fit into his operation. His thoughts are to better the soils on the farm and improve them for future generations, while helping others do the same on their farms.