2008 OCIA Farmer of the Year
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Awards - Outstanding Farmer of the Year Award
OCIA Research & Education, Inc. Board member, Larry Glassburn presented the award to Darrell and Marva at the High Plains OCIA Nebraska Chapter Meeting in February. The award was also presented March 1 at the closing banquet of the OCIA Annual General Membership Meeting in Huatulco, Mexico. Lynn Brakke who lives near Moorhead, MN and Eric and Betty Leicht who live neaDarrell&MarvaHolt&LarryGlassburnr Spalding, Saskatchewan were nominated for the award by their chapter peers and were named as honorable-mention winners at the banquet.

In response to being chosen as the 2008 winner, Marva said, “It is always an honor to be recognized for doing something that he (Darrell) has always loved and has always known was the right thing to do. Being able to produce quality food that is wholesome and nutritional for all of us to enjoy and helping protect and preserve the soil gives both Darrell and I a warm feeling at the end of the day as we watch those beautiful sunsets here in Western Nebraska.” Sadly, Darrell Holt passed away on March 22 of this year.

He and his wife Marva lived near the town of Dalton, NE located in the Panhandle. They had been certified since 1993 by OCIA. The Holts’ farm integrates cropping and livestock, with careful soil building. They grew wheat, oats, millet and peas, which are adapted to the dry climate. They rented their pasture to a rancher who boards his bulls. The bulls fed on their wheat stubble.

They also ran fowl on their land to help eliminate insect pests. Darrell and Marva were innovative in variety selection and weed management. They developed a program to maintain and enhance the environment.

The Holts have grown Nu Plains and Clarks Cream for Hard White Winter Wheat; Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Buckskin for Hard Red Winter Wheat; Hi test for Oats; Sunrise for White Proso Millet; and 4010 for Peas. “The wheat varieties all have the qualities that the millers are looking for and a long octal (the part of the kernel between the seed and where it emerges out of the ground), which reduces the possibility of having to replant and helps to reduce wind erosion during the winter months by having a taller growth on the plants,” said Marva.

To control weeds they have rotary hoed the field going diagonal at about 12 to 14 miles per hour. The spring crops of millet and oats are rotary hoed when there is a good stand or the ground is covered with the crop. They use the same technique of speed and direction on each field. They found that this not only helps control weed pressure, but it also helps release the oxygen out of the ground, making the crops grow faster.

To improve their soil they incorporated yellow clover with the oats when planting in the spring. They then harvest the oats leaving the clover.

They have been actively involved in the organic community, in promotion, certification, and marketing. They have been involved locally and internationally, and participate in their local farmers market. One quarter of their farm has been in Darrell’s family since 1918.

Honorable Mention

Lynn Brakke, a 2008 farmer of the year honorable mention winner and MN chapter nominee, who lives in Moorhead, MN, grows alfalfa, soybeans, blue corn, and barley. Brakke raises organic Angus beef and direct markets some of it. “Soil quality is very important to our farm operation. Crop rotation is probably the main factor in maintaining soil quality. The addition of alfalfa in our rotation several years ago has been a great help. Adding compost minor elements, and compost tea for soil balancing has been helpful as well,” said Brakke.

Eric & Betty Leicht, 2008 farmer of the year honorable mention winners, from Spalding, Saskatchewan grow a variety of pulse, cereal, and oilseed crops. This past year they grew five varieties of lentils including small green, large green, red crimson, beluga, and French green. They also grew peas, spelt, wheat, barley, oats, brown and golden flaxseed and brown and yellow mustard. When they feel the soil needs it, they plant a plow down crop or green manure of clover, peas or lentils.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 13:35