We are Mark and Amy Dobson who currently own and operate the family farm, with our son Lance and his wife Bria. Our farm is located near Lexington, MO which is 50 miles east of Kansas City. The land consists mostly of deep loess windblown soil along the Missouri River. The first of our family to farm this area and establish roots, was 3 generations ago. Along the way we have been quick to adapt farming practices that will improve our farm. In the early 1990's our home place was the first in Missouri to be grid soil tested, and variable rate fertilizer applied. This allowed us to cut back on synthetic fertilizer and put nutrients where they are needed, and not overapply where they are not. Especially with today's fertilizer prices, by continuing this practice we have improved profitability and lessen the risk of excess nutrients being washed away into the watersheds. This is also about the same time we adapted no-till farming. This practice was beneficial for reducing erosion on our hilly farms and improving soil health. Although no-till was a monumental transition for us, it still was not enough to eliminate erosion. So as heavy rainfall events seemed to become more prevalent, we started to adapt cover-crops in 2015. With cover crops we began to really close the gap to regenerative farming. We are now following the 5 principles of soil health; keep living roots in the soil, keep the soil covered, minimize soil disturbance, and integrate livestock. In 2019 we started our effort to integrate livestock, and currently have put fences back on all the farms we own. Some of our most recent new practices as of late are the use of biological products to further reduce our dependence on synthetic fertilizers. An example of this is our adaptation of Pivot Bio products that produce nitrogen for corn by fixating nitrogen from the atmosphere. We believe our most valuable resources on our farm are the soil and the people that help us take care of it. The most important essentials for life all come from soil. Soil provides nutrients for the plants we eat, plants that feed our livestock, clean our air, and absorbs and filters our water. For all these things to perform properly, we believe our farm must work with nature and not against it. To properly execute this initiative, it is critical that we surround ourselves with the right people who are passionate about what they do. Whether that be our family members, employees, bankers, or crop advisors. And not only the people directly involved with our farm, but also consumers who are willing to support farms like ours with their buying dollars. It will be important for people in agriculture to help show consumers what we do on our farms and why it’s important. With that knowledge the rest of the public can help decide how. Our mission is to utilize the land in a way that creates healthy soil, which creates healthy food and healthy people. If we do these things, we believe that it will not only provide resilience and success to our operation but are also principles that are critical for the future of society.
Corn, Soybean, Winter Wheat
No-till, cover crops, variable rate fertilizer, improved nitrogen management, livestock integration.
We began no-till in the mid 90's and continued the practice since. Then in 2015, we started incorporating cover crops with no-till to further prevent erosion. Since then, we have been experimenting with best cover crop practices and have now incorporated on almost all acres. In 2019 we started incorporating livestock into our crop acres.