2024- Alexander Boersch & Markus Deffner- Elie

My wife Emma and I (Alex) are involved in my family’s grain farm near Elie, MB. We farm together with my parents (Andreas & Elke) and my sister and brother in law (Jillian and Markus). My Family moved here from Germany in 1988 and has grown the farm from 1,000 acres to 5,000 acres. I have my masters in Agriculture from Purpan in Toulouse, France. During my studies I did internships throughout Europe, Canada and the USA and then worked as a grain trader at DG Global Inc. before coming back to farm with my family in 2017. These experiences are what pushed me to want to radically change the way we were farming.

Markus’ Family had a Dairy in Lichtenau, Germany but it was sold before he was born.  However, he remained very attached to agriculture. Throughout school he worked on a local dairy farm. In High school he did his apprenticeship and then “red seal” as an industrial mechanic, which he then follows up with a degree in agricultural engineering at Hochschule Weihenstephan Triesdorf. There he did an internship at New Holland and at our farm in Elie, MB. Once he finished school he came back to our farm and married Jillian and has since become an integral part of the farm. He has been the driving force behind animal integration to further our regenerative farming goals.

A lot of our farms focus is on soil health and fertilizer efficiency. We are a very close-knit family that all work closely together on a daily basis. We have 1,200 certified organic acres and 3,800 in “regenerative” conventional grain production. We have recently also integrated 200 ewes and 8 highland cows as part of a trial in rotational grazing cover crops to increase soil health.

Being in the red river valley with heavy clay gumbo soils, our #1 issue is erratic weather causing flooding and drought. We no longer seem to get regular rains but rather big thunderstorms and then long periods of no rain at all. Thus our #1 prerogative in order to increase farm resilience, improve water quality and reduce flooding is to increase our water infiltration rates. We are trying to design our whole farm system around this, increasing diversity and reducing chemical load. We want to grow the healthiest food and soils possible.

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