The hot, wet summer has kept many Minnesota livestock farmers hopping to keep their animals comfortable. Among them is Doug Heintz, recipient of the August Good Farm Neighbor Award from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Heintz and his family are owners/operators of Heintz Badger Valley Farm, located near Caledonia in Minnesotaâ€™s southeastern bluff country. Heintz milks about 120 Holsteins and said heâ€™s focused on keeping the cows cool and dry.
â€œWeâ€™ve had one of the hottest, wettest summers that I can remember so using sand bedding and lots of fans has been the best way for me to keep the cows comfortable,â€ said Heintz.
Because of the bluff topography of the region and a stream on his land, Heintz said implementing good conservation measures is a critical part of his operation.
â€œI use contour stripping on the side hills to control erosion and have placed a former pasture into the Conservation Reserve Program to preserve water quality of the trout stream,â€ Heintz said. â€œRaising livestock is important to the economic viability of this area and we need to do what we can to make sure the animals and the land can co-exist harmoniously.â€
Heintz says some of the steepest cropland is enrolled in CRP to control erosion and enhance wildlife habit.
Winners of the MDAâ€™s Good Farm Neighbor Award are selected by a committee representing the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the MDA.