BUFFALO LAKE — A Buffalo Lake farmer was given the 2021 National Conservation Legacy Award earlier this month by the American Soybean Association.

During a virtual program March 16, Brian Ryberg received the national award for his efforts to incorporate environmental and conservation practices to produce more sustainable soybean crops.

Ryberg Farms Inc. — which he operates with his wife, Sandy — raises soybeans, corn and sugar beets. Ryberg transitioned the family farm to strip-till, cover crops and vertical-till methods, which are in stark contrast to neighboring farms.

Brian Ryberg received the 2021 National Conservation Legacy Award March 16, 2021 by the American Soybean Association.
Brian Ryberg received the 2021 National Conservation Legacy Award March 16, 2021 by the American Soybean Association.
“We are in a primarily conventional-till area,” Ryberg said in a news release. “So, to go to strip-till and some no-till fields, the appearance is different. Our methods are different.”

The move helped Ryberg reduce operating costs and solid erosion and improved soil structure, water infiltration and weed control on Ryberg’s mostly rented farmland, which includes 6,300 acres in four counties near Buffalo Lake.

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“We’ve seen better yields on our soybeans,” he said. “It just seems like the less tillage we do, the more we’re finding out the soybeans respond to that really well for yield. So, it’s been a win-win.”

The methods helped Ryberg “become a better steward and is now steps closer to achieving his ultimate goal—to leave a legacy for the next generation,” according to the news release from the American Soybean Association.

A national selection committee, composed of soybean farmers, conservationists, agronomists and natural resource professionals, evaluated nominations based on each farmer’s environmental and economic program.