Sustainable farming methods on display near Lyle - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Sustainable farming methods on display near Lyle

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LYLE, Minn. (KTTC)- More and more farmers each year look for ways to save money, and one organization in Southern Minnesota looks to help them remain sustainable any way they can.

Ideas that have been implemented over the past 25 years.

"Well, actually, the sustainable farming got started not long after the farm crisis in the late 80's," says Jim Tjepkema with the Sustainable Farm Association. "People were looking for something to do to overcome the problems they were facing in the farm crisis."

What is sustainable farming? To put it simply, it is a way to save you money.

"We expect over the next 50 years for farming to return back to where it was many years ago, only we're going to have higher technology doing that kind of farming," says Sherry Jansen, the host of Saturday's sustainable farm tour near Lyle.

Anything from ditching the diesel-powered tractor for the use of horses to wood-powered heating systems, the methods of saving farmers money is seemingly endless. It even extends to a crustacean not native to the state.

"The only way that hog producers can stay in business is if they're really, really big and then their margins are really, really small," explains Larry Aden, a local expert on sustainable farming and red claw crayfish farming. "We can increase those margins for them by helping them poly-culture red claw right alongside their hog operation."

The red claw crayfish could be the next big money maker for Minnesota farmers.

"You just need a cheap heat source. That's all. You can burn wood and make money off of them there, they're extremely profitable as far as that goes. This animal grows to a pound and a half and produces a lobster tail that is comparable in quality and flavor."

So as the sustainable farm tours continue to grow, so do the ideas on how to keep farms competitive.

These sustainable farm tours take place around the state each year and provide area farmers with tips on how to implement money-saving measures to keep their farms operational.

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