This month’s Leader of the Land™ feature is Doug Rebout, a corn farmer committed to sustainable farming practices from Janesville, Wis.
Introduce yourself and tell us about your farm.
I am Doug Rebout from Roger Rebout & Sons Farms in Janesville. Our farm started in 1963 with my parents. Today, I farm with my brothers and nephews. We raise corn, winter wheat, soybeans and alfalfa. We also raise Holstein heifers and steers on our farm.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means doing right for our farm, land and community. We know our farm needs to be profitable to be successful and pass on to the next generation. Taking care of our land is a top priority. We want our land to sustain for the next generation and generations to come. We use strip tilling and no tilling to leave the ground as natural as possible.
How do you keep water clean?
We do strip tilling for the corn and no tilling for the soybeans. These sustainable farming practices leave the soil undisturbed and help prevent runoff. We are also starting to use some cover crops. The cover crops act like a sponge to hold water and nutrients in place for the plants to use to grow.
How does technology help you be more sustainable on your farm?
Technology helps us be more precise with our seed and chemicals. We are able to prevent overuse and pollution. In addition, all of our tractors are equipped with GPS technology. This helps us be more efficient with our resources by precisely placing seeds and fertilizer.
Who do you partner with to advance sustainability on your farm?
We are members of the Farmers on the Rock watershed group. We are a group of farmers in the area that work together to share ideas and try new conservation practices. Being involved in this group is great because we can all learn from each other and try new things on our own farm.
We have also participated in research studies with the UW Discovery Farms to measure the impact of our conservation efforts. The data collected from these studies helps us learn how we are reducing our impact and helps other farmers learn as well.
Why is sustainability important on your farm?
We want future generations to be able to keep the family farm going and if we are not sustainable that might not happen.