Jessen Agribusiness, Inc. | Farm Meets Function

My name is Ashley Jessen and I have been living and working here since 2013. I’m Clint Jessen and I’ve been here my entire life. Started farming on my own in 2000 and we’re 100% certified organic farm in Eastern Laramie County in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. We raise organic wheat, everything’s organic, I guess, so beans we raised pinto beans, black beans, white beans, millet, hay millet and proso millet and occasionally a barley crop, some lentils things like that. Anything that we can sell. When I first started out in organic my neighbors thought I was crazy. And I think as time has progressed they obviously see that that’s not necessarily the case Negative, a little more negative we get a little slack from some of our no-till neighbors that we’re doing it wrong or, you know, that their way is better than ours or something like that. But I think in the the longer that we’ve been here, the neighbors have really kind of embraced it. Neighbors like, I mean, they keep theirs organic because they see that that we’re doing it and we’re able to buy their grain Keep it going in the area. So I think in the long term it’s been good. It’s a huge industry and we’re still just farmers and we go to a lot of the same conferences and we still have the same, some of the same issues just how we handle them are different. We have what we call Wasteland. It’s, it’s pretty much an old riverbed, washouts that were to poor to raise crops on. We have been working with Pheasants Forever and the NRCS in the conservation district, and so we worked with Pheasants Forever and they came out and planted 15,000 trees for habitat space, put in a drip system, water well and conservation kicked in a bunch of money from Laramie County and they put in a guzzler, which is a year-round constant water source for wildlife, and it slopes down into this tank. It’s a big roof that’s tilted and all the water runs down into this concrete thing that deer and birds and everything can come in, coyotes yeah We’ve had, we’ve had some problems with it, definitely. Yeah, it’s for everything, you can’t be that selective about it, but. Yeah, I would say here in Southeast Wyoming we are 100% weather dependent. Just right rain is obviously perfect. To much rain is bad. Too little rain is bad. Obviously the, the worst is hail, our biggest nemesis. You know, a lot of things in farming are out of your control. And I think that’s probably the biggest thing. Or even sawfly, I mean there’s a lot of things that you just cannot control. You have to adjust your management style to still try to be successful somehow despite all the factors that you can’t control. And being organic, it’s harder to manipulate things like we have to depend on nature essentially because we can’t spray something if it’s not going our way or we have too much moisture and too many weeds we can’t just drive over it, and I make it, make them go away. So I think… There are significantly less tools in the toolbox for us to use being organic. During the winter months, we try to leave our stubble, you know, exposed to catch snow. And also to prevent the wind from just blowing it to Nebraska. So we can leave that stubble height then leave that residue and try to get as much moisture retention as we can. Using cover crops and things like that Australian winter peas for plow down and things like that that will inter-seed within the wheat stubble. And then plow it down the next spring. So there’s a lot of things we try to make sure going into winter that every acre has something on it. Whether it’s a new crop planted or it’s a stubble from the prior crop and then that way it just is so much better when we start out in the spring and it catches snow and a few tumbleweeds as well. This is our headquarters where we do everything. Out of repairs, equipment repairs, to marketing and phone calls and office work. Our grain bins are also obviously very important. We have them in several locations throughout the the farm as a whole. We have several… all of our employees get housing and so we have several, four or five farmsteads that we’ve purchased throughout the years and put our employees there. We have two homesteads, abandoned homesteads, that are pretty cool. Yeah, and the kids just like to go there and rummage around and see what they can find. When I got here it was run, I guess more like a just a family farm and when I came in, I really wanted to run it like a business and then on top of and then becoming certified organic, trying to go out and do marketing and be known not even not locally and nationally, but internationally as a good source of organic ingredients, wholesale organic ingredients, for Kellogg’s and Kashi and Chipotle things like that, so I guess I took more of the management side. Rail capacity. Rail capacity. We’re gonna have to be able to to load rail cars now. So that’s that’s big for us. Our ultimate goal, I guess, would to be bringing in our own source of compost and chicken litter from California. Clean out the cars reload it with organic wheat and send it back out. Or any organic product. I think we’d really like to expand our services, not only for producers but for buyers internationally, whether that’s shipping to a port and getting it on a ship to get to Japan or Europe somewhere. I think the rail capacity is really going to help. We’d like to expand that. Keeping people educated on organics and local farmers and, I mean, farmers everywhere like, kind of, we touched on a little bit ago like it’d be nice if more people knew that they could… it’s profitable to be organic and that it’s worth it if they, if they work hard at it and, I mean, I just feel like people don’t understand exactly what that means. And so I think if people knew that on that on the back of a box of organic cereal they can tell you what field that came out of like it would be. Yeah, the tracability, accountability, you can take that lot number on the back of the cereal and trace it all the way back to that it came from our farm and that on our farm we can follow that paperwork and it can be traced back to field number 199 and it was planted on September 4th, 2010 and it was stored in bin number 8 and followed that one… you can follow that one colonel from, from our farm, that one seed to the box of cereal that was sold at a Safeway in Delaware somewhere. So I think that that would be cool.

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