MEET

Trent Sanderson

soybeans • corn • wheat • cattle

Trent Sanderson

Clare, IL

marker

Farming is my past, present and future

I have been “farming” with my dad since I learned how to walk. I studied agronomy in college and worked with new farm technology for a few years, so now I’m bringing my knowledge and background in both back to the family farm and implementing changes to make the farm more efficient and successful as a whole. My wife and I recently welcomed our son Owen into the world, and I look forward to raising him with the same values and surroundings that I have been blessed with on the family farm.

The freedom of it all

Each year and each day brings a different challenge. I really value that in my work. Being my own boss gives me a lot of freedom to make choices that I think are best for my farm, my family, my animals and the environment around me.

Caring for the land

I believe that the most important part of my job is to take care of the land. The land is my main resource; I literally grow my crops and livestock from the ground up. No matter what I do as a farmer, I can only be as successful as the land allows me to be, so I make it a priority to take good care of our soil.

A farmer’s responsibility

In today’s world, where we have almost instant access to information, we need to be aware that everything we read or hear isn’t necessarily true. When it comes to food, I want you to form your own opinion about what’s best for your family, but I want you to do so with the real information. That’s why being a farmer today means more than just growing food -- it also means doing our best to share what we do with the people who are curious about it.

About my family

I farm with my family in northern Illinois. Together we grow corn, soybeans, wheat and a small herd of beef cattle. My wife, Elizabeth, and I live near the farm with our son Owen.

My Blog Posts

Field Test: Conventional Farmer Tries Organic
Field Test: Organic or Conventional – farmland needs a blanket
Healthy Soil, Healthy Crop
Our fields look different, but there’s a method to our madness.
Tornado Aftermath for Illinois Farmers

GIVING ORGANIC A CHANCE

What we do every day isn’t any different than what our great-great-grandparents did: grow a healthy crop to feed our family and yours. But how we do it has changed dramatically. That’s because we are always using the best tools and information we have to improve the crops we grow and lessen the impact that we have on the environment.

For some, that’s using an organic farming system. For others, it might be conventional.
 
For our farm, at this moment in time, it’s both.
 
Here are a few ways organically grown fields are different from conventionally grown fields:
 
  • The crops in these fields are non-GMO.
  • Only naturally derived pesticides can be applied to help control bugs, disease and weeds.
  • These crops require more labor, tillage (turning over the soil) and different types of fertilizer – making them more expensive to grow. However …
  • Farmers receive a premium for these crops to make up for the higher cost of growing them.
Today’s farming tools, like genetically engineered seeds, synthetic pesticides, cover crops that are planted to protect the land and alternate soil cultivation methods have allowed us to take really good care of the soil in our conventional fields. Organic farming puts restrictions on some of these tools, so this type of system doesn’t innately mean we are taking better care of the environment.
 
Our crops are only as good as the foundation upon which they grow, so we monitor the soil health in all of our fields to make sure that what we are doing is environmentally sustainable.
 
At the end of the day, it’s about making the best choice for our farm and our land.