John Stigge, Producer & Holistic Manager, Washington, KS
John Stigge manages the family farm located in Washington County, KS. The farm has been over 30 years of never-till, 22 years of continuous cover crop usage, and 11 years of regenerative farming.
During this time he has:
- Doubled or in some cases tripled Soil Organic Matter on all his farms
- Eliminated the need of fungicide and insecticide applications on crops
- Increased rainfall infiltration from .6 inch to over 4 inches
- Enhanced soil biological activity
- Reduced fertilizer requirements
- Achieved and maintained higher corn weight
Seeking to improve their farming methods, John and his wife Kathryn in 2012 and 2013 completed the Holistic Management courses. This training allowed them to analyze all aspects of the farming operation. They determined that their current farming practices were not long term sustainable. Input costs were rising faster than output income. Herbicides were losing their effectiveness. Additionally, they were not providing the consumer the healthy, nutritious food consumers desired.
Soon thereafter, their two sons Ian and Peter returned to the farming operation. They also brought with them the desire to farm organically and run more cattle.
Using his knowledge of cover crops, his experience of raising cattle, and his holistic training, John developed an integrated system which utilized growing and finishing cattle as the way to become organically certified. This system improves the soil nutrients and biology to enable and maintain, and does not require tillage to control weeds.
This farming family is determined to return health and nutrition to the food for the consumer. The side benefit is that they are no longer bound by high input agricultural costs. They are finding ways to work with nature, rather than attempt to overcome nature. The Holistic Management system enables them to effectively plan, evaluate, and make improvements to their operation.