Glen Borgerding advises crop farmers, aided by personal experience

Glen Borgerding does soil testing at his office in Albany using an atomicabsorption spectrophotometer. His business is Ag Resource Consulting Inc, through which he is a certified crop adviser.

Glen Borgerding does soil testing at his office in Albany using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. His business is Ag Resource Consulting Inc, through which he is a certified crop adviser.

 

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
jennie.zeitler@ecm-inc.com

Rather than farming, Glen Borgerding started Ag Resource Consulting Inc., based in Albany, in 1984. He was unexpectedly thrown into a tractor seat in 2007, which led to five years of anything-but-normal farming.

“It was the absolute worst time,” he said. “Four out of the five years were disaster years.”

Although he climbed out of the tractor seat following the 2011 season, the experience was not for naught.

“It gave me a master’s degree level of understanding of what can go wrong while farming,” he said.

Borgerding grew up on the first farm west of Freeport, one of six children of Art and Nellie Borgerding.

My Organic Nation, a nonprofit organization supporting the organic industry based in Nebraska, describes Advisory Board Member Borgerding as a pioneer in the organic food industry, who has been providing crop consulting and nutrient management services to organic food producers since the late 1980s.

Borgerding’s experience includes working with organic certification agencies and helping with organic inspector trainings in the areas of organic nutrient management and mechanical weed control methods.

In addition to being a certified crop adviser, he is a technical service provider for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

From 2001 to 2006, he was a partner in Organic Land Management Services, working in a six-state area. When the partnership dissolved, Borgerding retained the land owned in Minnesota, which propelled him into farming.

“The first year, 2007, was a drought year,” he said. “Three out of the next four years were wet years.”

Back with his focus purely on consulting, Borgerding works with many livestock producers. “They have a lot of manure and alfalfa in their rotations,” he said. “We use a real-world approach, where on-farm resources are fully utilized before going off-farm for inputs.”

Borgerding has about 70 clients, from Park Rapids to Austin. He works with different clients on different levels, giving nutrient management and fertilizer recommendations. On-farm visits are made throughout the season as needed.

“We want to be proactive and anticipate any problems,” he said. Some long-time customers have been with him since the late 1980s.

“Some new farmers work with us through the NRCS,” Borgerding said. “Sometimes they retain us afterward, sometimes not.”

According to My Organic Nation, Borgerding “uses his knowledge and expertise to promote organic farming as a viable method of food production that is good for the land and the consumers who choose to incorporate organic food into their lives.”

Borgerding is also on the board of the Buckwheat Growers Association in Wadena, formed by a small group of farmers in 1997, to provide a market for their crops.

“Initially it was funded with grant money, and became a co-op soon after,” said Borgerding. “The co-op buys grain from organic and transitional farms to process into livestock feed. It is also a Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) certified seed cleaning plant.”

“More crop and plant diversity within rotations leads to greater soil health and environmental stability,”  he said. “All farmers from organic to conventional have much in common and can learn from each other. The question for each farmer is, where in that middle ground is the point of greatest sustainability and profitability for their particular operation.”

For more information, call Ag Resource Consulting at (320) 845-6321.

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