Published on 07/02/2019

#MyStewardshipStory: The Schnitker Family in Cortland, Indiana

Collaboration drives stewardship.

In Cortland, Indiana, Donald and his son Luke Schnitker run the family’s 500 acre farm. For this fifth-generation family farm, stewardship means legacy and working together to protect the land and the farm for generations to come.  

Donald says conservation is fundamental to Schnitker Family Farms. “My goal has always been to raise a crop in a profitable, yet sustainable way so that my land is here for the next generation,” Donald said. “I want to leave my ground in better condition than when I found it and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN helps me make the decisions, I need to make to be a better steward of my land.” Pollinator plots, bluebird boxes, no-till and cover crops are just a few of the conservation methods the family has employed over the years. One field, averaging 95 acres, has not had any tillage in more than 30 years. “Conservation was very important to Dad. He was a very early adopter of no-till,” Donald said. “Early on, we even rented an Allis Chalmers 4-row planter that was adapted for no-till from the soil and water conservation district.” Donald and Luke also put in waterways anywhere they notice a gulley forming. “It is not good stewardship for your good soil to end up at the bottom of your field and in the creek and eventually in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Schnitker family stewardship story is one of collaboration—not just together but also with their community.  They have worked closely with their local ag retailer and cooperative Premier Ag (Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN member) for generations and Premier Ag continues to be a key resource today. The agronomists at Premier Ag provide Donald and Luke with expert advice and support as they continue to drive on-farm soil health and conservation. For example, Schnitker Family Farms utilizes soil testing and field scouting, both services provided by Premier Ag. Donald and Luke praise Premier Ag for helping them make more sustainable choices. “They help with all of the technology and by providing the experts who know everything I need to know to make the best decisions,” Donald said.

Premier Ag account manager, Jeff Davis says ““The value that I hope I bring to my customers through Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, is a better position in the marketplace to meet consumer demands while giving them the competitive advantage they need.” With growers like Donald and Luke, Premier Ag is excited about the new technology Truterra Insight Engine brings to the table for our growers—helping them make the right decisions for their farm, their business and their family.

Utilizing technology, collaboration and partnership, Luke and Donald Schnitker are working hard to drive their stewardship story forward, protecting their legacy and their farm for generations to come.