Established in 2015 and incorporated in Minnesota, Kevin Poppel is a progressive farmer who focuses heavily on stewardship and sustainability. Kevin manages every acre of his farming operation using all data available to him and proclaims his iPad as his most trusted tool!
What is the history of your farming operation?
I grew up on a farm and my extended family still farms in the Red River Valley. I worked in the Ag industry my entire career, and it is my true passion! In 2014, my uncle retired and gave me the the opportunity to begin farming his land.
I view precision agriculture as an operational necessity to being profitable and sustainable. Every operation on the Poppel Family Farm is guided by data and precision agriculture. I am constantly looking to try new things and discover what will give my yield a push to the next level.
“Modern day agriculture will evolve quickly as consumers demand more information about food.”
Tell us about your equipment fleet
We operate very lean on equipment due to the fact that we are very young in the business. We operate all John Deere power units mainly because of the technology capability. We also run lean because we have changed our management practices to include strip-till which reduces our passes in the field. The specialized equipment that we use includes Precision Planting, Yield 360, and Climate Corporation.
What digital platforms do you use?
Our main digital platform is Climate Field View. I do however use John Deere’s technical tools and SMS, but on a limited basis.
Where are the biggest gains to be made in your ROI?
In my business, I have seen and will continue to see the largest gains in net return from creating a systematic, agronomic, data driven business plan. We learned quickly that making one static change such as a tillage practice only has positive net returns if and only if I was willing to change the rest of our systems. I needed to put all of my management practices into question and leave no stone unturned. In short, you cannot simply change one piece of the puzzle and expect the rest of the pieces to simply fall back into place.
“I needed to put all of my management practices into question and leave no stone unturned.”
What’s the most important advancement in agriculture in the last 10 years?
Technology is by far the most important driver in my operation. We now have the ability to make more informed decisions. We can now determine our profitability per acre on each acre of our field vs. a composite average. This allows us to make the necessary changes on a granular level. You simply can’t change what you don’t know.
Ag, Now and in the Future
The most important issue in Ag today is…
The most important issue in Ag today is Sustainability. As an agriculture industry, we need to strive for a long-term sustainable business model that includes stewardship and transparency. We need to continue to be proactive in education, communication, and food safety. Modern day agriculture will evolve quickly as consumers demand more information about food.
What is the most important issue in Agriculture that growers are typically not thinking about in their operations?
In my opinion, the vast majority of growers are focusing on growth. In a lot of cases, the focus on growth clouds the ability to adapt to, and adopt, sustainable farming practices. In my opinion the “writing is on the wall”. Consumers and government alike are demanding precise farming practices with transparency. The larger you become in size, the harder it becomes to manage sustainable practices. In most cases, growers believe that economies of scale will make them more money than sustainable farming practices.
Getting it done with…
| Corn and Soybeans | FieldView | Precision Planting | Strip Tillage: Kuhn Krause Gladiator 1200 | John Deere 4830 VR sprayer | Precision Planting YieldSense Monitor