“We’ve had organic inspectors question our yield estimates. But those yields are what we’ve come to expect.” - Christine Mason, Mason Family Farms
It’s a confident statement, but one that Mason Family Farms, of Whitewater, Wisconsin, stands by saying. It is also a strong indication of the success they have had with Blue River Organic Seed for over ten years.
The Mason’s, who are now in their fourth generation of farming, have been certified organic for 15 years. However, many of their field practices have been geared towards organic long before certification. Making up the farming operation is Steve and Christine Mason, and Steve’s parents, John and Sally Mason. As John, the third generation of Mason farmers refers to their organic farm, “I was farming this harder way for years and now we’re back to it, but better than before.”
The word harder is repeated throughout a recent conversation with the Mason family; mostly used to describe the differences in farming organically. But it’s important to know for the Masons, that the word harder also means rewarding.
“It’s more work, and it’s not easy. You have to be committed to the time it takes to farm organically and still be successful,” Steve Mason shared. For the Masons, that commitment of time has been strongly focused on matching quality products and sound agronomics.
Both Steve and Christine have worked in other areas of the agriculture industry and among many types of farming. That is much of the reason they can accurately make these comparisons. Steve, having previously raised dairy on the family farm and worked for a Wisconsin farm cooperative, and Christine, who has extensive agronomy experience from multiple angles of the industry as well, are very open in sharing what they have learned and experienced in order to be successful organic farmers.
The expected high yields that Christine mentions are accredited to their focus on creating a soil and field environment that helps the right seed product grow. This includes quite a bit of soil science. On the Mason’s fields, they have always incorporated multiple crop rotations, including incorporating hay into those rotations, and speak highly of the positive effects it has on the soil environment. They also use cover crops on fields where able. Over time, creating the best possible field environment is what helps a quality seed reach its full potential.
Creating that ideal field environment is also part of Steve and Christine’s role at Standard Process, a whole food nutritional supplement company, based in Palmyra, Wisconsin. Christine serves as the farm operations manager of the company’s organic farm near Whitewater, and Steve is also the farm supervisor. At both their family farm and the Standard Process farm, they take careful consideration into the health of their field and soil conditions to reach quality yields and products.
When you mix these strong agronomics together with a product like Blue River Organic Seed, the results are outstanding. Last year, one of the soybean fields averaged 70 bushels per acre. “We’ve been extremely happy with our Blue River seed,” says Christine. “Even in years of short rains, our Blue River seed has remained great due to its drought tolerance,” Steve adds. The yields they have been able to achieve continue to not only meet, but exceed, those that they had experienced previously when farming conventionally. The Blue River soybean field in the photo above has been farmed organically for several years, and it is one that the Mason’s are managing this year for Standard Process.
Growing organically takes a focus, some work and great support, including such from your seed company. Blue River is proud to be a part of the Mason’s successful family farming traditions. We want to be a part of yours as well by continuing to fulfill on our promise of the high-quality organic standards and performance in all of our seed products.