The Jennissen family are Bongards patrons and have been recognized with a 2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. The 200-cow Brooten, Minn., farm was acknowledged for its multi-generational commitment to a number of innovative sustainable practices. Highlights include reducing the farm’s energy use by 20 percent by utilizing an energy efficiency program, and not using any commercial fertilizer on any of its 258 acres. The farm has also achieved Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification, improving water quality of the nearby Crow River for local residents and wildlife.
Jerry and Linda Jennissen have owned Jer-Lindy Farms since 1983, and can trace the farm’s ownership back to 1875, when it was originally homesteaded. Since purchasing the farm, both Jerry and Linda have maintained a deeply rooted commitment to finding ways to innovate and expand their business to meet the needs of their family now, and for future generations.
“Our goal is to be sustainable while profitable, with water and soil quality as two of our critical focus points,” Jerry said. “We’ve been able to make sustainability profitable, and by being as forward-thinking as possible, we hope to pave the way to a strong future for our farm.”
To ensure the longevity of its land as well as the business, Jerry and Linda maintain a forward-thinking approach to maintaining the legacy of the family farm. In place of commercial fertilizer, the farm uses manure produced by its 200 cows to fertilize crops, and utilizes a weekly monitoring service to scan for weeds and harmful pests, saving unnecessary herbicide and pesticide application. Furthermore, the farm uses a soil sampling method called “gridding,” which reduces the amount of lime applied to alfalfa fields, applying it only in the areas where it is needed.
Bongards is exceedingly proud to have patrons like the Jennissen family and commend them on their award and commitment to sustainable farming!