Jacob Wager is a fourth-generation producer running a diversified ag operation focused on culture and stewardship near Woodrow, Colorado.
A legacy of stewardship
“As crop producers, we harvest sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to produce our products. Carbon in the soil is of high value to what we do. The more we store, the better our soils,” says Jacob. He runs this operation in conjunction with his family and with an eye toward the next generation, who is currently growing up on the farm.
“Whether it’s attributed to climate change or natural progression, volatility in the weather is challenging,” says Jacob. “Our father was a leader in conservation practices and development. No-till crop rotation became staples for our area based on the trends he helped develop.”
Impact of sustainable practices
His father’s legacy in no-till has resulted in reduced soil erosion, improved nutrient cycling, better soil moisture and healthier soils. Jacob and his family continue to add more to the family’s heritage of conservation-minded practices in many ways, including their adoption of harvest-time conservation methods and an organic fertilization program.
They have built a business around what they term ‘conditioned manure,’ often also called compost. Their system begins in the livestock pen and extends its benefits to the field. They also leverage the latest in conditioned manure spreading technology to increase their ability to enrich the soil with organic matter. Increased organic matter means healthier soils and more water holding capacity, which serves as a buffer against drought and aids in crop growth, production and more biological matter to return to the soil.
Community of conservation
Jacob says he hears most of his conservation advice from other farmers who work daily to steward the land.
“Agricultural peers are one of the best places to learn about new conservation practices since knowledge of soil health and productivity finds its peak with the leading farmers in the industry,” says Jacob. “Along with that, we are constantly harvesting information from many other sources. Most of the advice that works has been tested and proved in the industry. On-farm research is the best way to ground test ideas and scalability.”
The Wagers have a vested interest in protecting their land and the climate, not only for their lifetime but for generations to come. Farmers like Jacob exemplify a standard of sustainability-focused farming that balances profitability with the need for holistic, long-term approaches to managing natural resources that incorporate technology, information and science. Looking forward, Jacob plans to continue growing his operation and sustainable practices alongside his financing partner, Premier Farm Credit.