Conservation-minded farmer keeps century farm thriving
BLOOMER - Travis Lueck, along with his brothers Brian, Mark and Kevin, operate a dairy, beef and cash crop farming operation consisting of 855 acres in Bloomer. Travis took over the century old farm from his father in 2008; family ties to the farming operation dated back to his great-grandparents.
The Luecks currently milk 95 dairy cows in a freestall parlor setup, raise 60 Holstein steers and manage 30 Angus cow-calf pairs on the operation.
Travis has a strong history of involvement with the local conservation office, including participation in conservation programs including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Travis contacted the office as a beginning farmer in 2009 and said, “I want to make my land and operation more efficient; what conservation practices will help me sustain the farm for the future; what can I do?”
Travis applied for the CSP program and has implemented conservation practices including nutrient management, utilizing controlled released nitrogen fertilizer, harvesting hay in a wildlife-friendly manner, testing plant tissue to manage nitrogen in his fields and applying pesticides through GPS targeted spraying.
Travis also contacted his local Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Service Center regarding issues with his barnyards and runoff. Through the EQIP program, a barnyard runoff control system was installed in 2015 and 2016 to address runoff from three different lots on the farm.
Travis has seen great results since installing his barnyard system; “I no longer have hoof and leg issues, my cull rate has been reduced, steer weight gain has increased since installing the fenceline feeding, my pastures are managed better in the spring time with the cattle on the lots and I can collect and utilize manure from the yards for my crop production.”
Within the last year, and with technical assistance from Chippewa County NRCS, Travis installed a concrete reception tank to help manage manure from his free stall operation. Travis recently incorporated cover crops and no-till into his farming operation and participates in a locally lead cover crop round table group to sustain his farming operation into the future.
Travis plans to continue to utilize the Conservation Stewardship Program to better his farming operation over the next few years.