Daleidens named County Conservation Farm Family
MAIDEN ROCK -- Ed Daleiden has been a cash crop farmer since 1978 and his involvement with the farming industry goes back even longer, as he grew up on a dairy farm.
Therefore, Daleiden has strong beliefs about all things farming, including the topic of conservation.
"The number one goal is to eliminate erosion," Daleiden said. "I do my best to eliminate ditches and no till gives me the best option."
For those efforts and many more, Ed along with his wife Dawn and four children, John, David, Mike and Amanda, have been named 2006 Pierce County Conservation Farm Family. They, along with John and Connie Binkowski, Kevin, Deline, Jack and Dorothy Niebur, the Soil and Water Conservation winners, will be honored for their achievements at a banquet later on this year. The time, date and place have yet to be announced.
After getting out of the military in the mid 1970s, Ed started out in cash crop, thanks to a neighbor at the time and stuck with it ever since. Presently, they live outside of Maiden Rock and farm on nearly 1,800 acres, which is split between acreage they own and rent.
Ed added the big difference between cash crop and dairy farm is that cash crop is more labor intensive during the growing season.
Among the conservation practices the Daleidens have used over the years have been to go from all tillage to minimum tillage to no till, conservation crop rotation, contour farming and stream bank protection.
In regards to no till, Ed feels it's the best option out there and hopes other farmers are willing to give it a chance to see if it works for them. However, he added, not everyone will use it in the county due to the problems of handling manure and the different soil types.
And with two-thirds of his property being owned by someone else, Ed explained most of the time in the past when he's brought up conservation practices to his landlords, they've gone along with him.
"When it's all said and done, everyone benefits," he said, due to the conservation changes. Furthermore, he believes such conservation practices are necessary because, "It takes 100 years to gain an inch of topsoil back. We've lost a lot over the years."
Over the years, the Daleidens have belonged to voluntary programs such as the Land Conservation Department, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
In particular, Ed had high praise for the Land Conservation Office, saying, "If anyone deserves an award, it's them. I can't say enough good things about them."
It should come as no surprise Ed is a farmer, considering his father Paul was a dairy farmer in the local area. However, the question remains, will Ed's kids continue the tradition?
"John and David have no interest and Mike's uncertain," he said. "I'm not going to force this on anyone. Farming is something you have to have a passion for.
"And that's the biggest challenge today, finding kids who are interested in farming. Not that many of our younger generation are willing to work those kind of hours; along with that, it takes a lot more money to start up today than in the past."
And at 52, Ed's not ready to call it quits yet.
"As long as I'm healthy and still can meet the challenges of today's agriculture, I plan on sticking around for awhile," he said.