The hundreds of farmers and ranchers who have lent their expertise over the years to the United States Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (USDA-SARE) program are pioneers in sustainability. Three of those pioneers were among the 12 men and women honored this week by the White House as Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture: Larry Cundall, Keith Berns and Martin Kleinschmit.
As chairman of the Western SARE Administrative Council, Glendo, Wyo., rancher Larry Cundall applies a spirit of innovation to help guide SARE funding toward producer-led research that gives farmers and ranchers the tools they need to make their operations more sustainable.
Keith Berns and his brother, Brian, first tested cover crops on their Bladen, Neb., farm in 2007 using a SARE farmer/rancher grant. Today, they are national leaders in the advancement of cover crops, including management of a seed business with 3,500 customers who plant cover crops on 1 million acres across the country.
Martin Kleinschmit, who owns an organic farm in Nebraska, has served as a farmer member of the North Central SARE technical committee that reviews research and education project proposals, and his wife, Linda, served in various leadership positions with North Central SARE for 10 years.
Congratulations to all the Champions!