Member spotlight: Steve Carpenter

The Carpenter family. Left: Carson Carpenter, sister (?), sitting: Cody Carpenter, Standing next to sign: Colton Carpenter. Right: Parents (?) and Steve Carpenter.

Redrock View Farms is in Lafayette County and is owned by Steve and Lisa Carpenter. Along with their three sons, they operate about 2,000 acres of mostly corn, alfalfa and soybeans on mostly silt loam soils. The dairy operation is milking about 650 cows.

As LASA members they are committed to be better stewards of their natural resources and are taking charge of their own future. They do not want to leave it to others to determine. Carpenters work together to protect our soil, water and environment by sharing and promoting conservation practices on farm.

One of the biggest challenges is dealing with compaction. They must surface apply some of their manure solids and sand which leads to compaction issues. Now, they’ve started doing more inline ripping which does a lot less disturbance of the soil and seems to be helping.

Jim Winn was the true driving force in getting LASA started in Lafayette County. He is a great advocate for not only conservation, but our whole agriculture industry. Their agronomist Ryan Temperly has played a key role in helping the farm to be more productive while implementing more conservation practices and get a better understanding on what their plants need while keeping soils healthy.

Carpenter’s feel one of the greatest assets of being a LASA member is learning from other members about new practices they tried and their successes and challenges they faced.

As far as unanticipated outcomes, they have experimented with many different cover crops and application methods, from no-till drilling, air flow application followed by light vertical till to rolling and manure application at different stages. This fall after corn silage they did about 12,000 gallons of surface applied manure followed by light vertical tillage to incorporate, then air flowed on barley and followed by a roller. They said it worked great.

They use barley for cover crops that will be seeded to alfalfa the next spring and rye if is going to corn. They also need about 40 acres to spread manure in the summer, so they chop fall seeded rye in late May and then direct seed alfalfa early August and that has worked great if they get some moisture. Next year they plan to try some planting green.

Carpenter’s have had contour strips for many years and have been implementing minimum till and no-till practices along with implementing their NMP plan for the past several years. Steve feels this along with the new practices they are implementing are what we need to do to be better stewards of our land.

LASA has helped Steve to keep an open mind about new conservation practices to not only protect our environment and natural resources but to enhance production on his farm.

They continue to strive for the highest standards in the dairy industry in all aspects of our operation with the hope of successfully passing our proud tradition of farming on to the next generations. Using the latest technologies and techniques in conservation and management practices will be the best tools for all to be sustainable. He believes they need to strive to be a productive and profitable operation while protecting our water quality and environment for generations to come.