Laura Bihl named Wright County’s 2017 Outstanding Conservationist
|The family of Outstanding Conservationist Laura Bihl includes: (front row, from left) Kia Bihl (granddaughter-in-law), Talon Bihl (great-grandson, seated with Laura), Laura Bihl, Grayden Bihl (great-grandson), Andy Bihl (grandson), Laura Athey Brown (granddaughter), Damon Athey (son-in-law); (second row) Jason Bihl (grandson), Jeanne Bihl Athey (daughter), Tim Athey (grandson), Mike Bihl (son), Brecken Bihl (great-grandson), Teegan Bihl (great-grandson), Tom Bihl (son); and (back row) Kameron Brown (grandson-in-law). (Photo courtesy of family and SWCD)|
Every year the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) honors an individual or conservation organization with the “Outstanding Conservationist” award. Selected by the SWCD, this award recognizes the recipient for their work and accomplishments implementing conservation practices. This year, Laura Bihl of Clearwater, Minn. was selected to represent the Wright District as their “Outstanding Conservationist.”
Over 40 years ago, Laura Bihl and her husband, Marvin (deceased), established their farm, Homeplace Beef Organic Farm. Laura’s experiences as a public health nurse, with a degree in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, greatly influenced the Bihls’ farming approach. In this profession, she saw the effects antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and other chemicals have on the human body. Laura truly believes that by farming organically, you not only improve the health of consumers, but also the animals and the land.
Using a sustainable method of farming known as “holistic agricultural management,” Laura and her family keep the well-being of people, their cattle and the land in mind. Laura believes “the key to a healthy grow is healthy soil,” and she feels strongly that pesticides and fertilizers basically do more harm than good. The only fertilizer Bihl uses is composted cattle manure. At any given time, this 240-acre farm raises approximately 45 Hereford cattle. The Herefords graze on organic, rotated pastures and always have access to free-choice mineralized salt and Diatomaceous Earth, which is a natural de-wormer. Calves are born in the spring on fresh green grass and nurse until they are 10 months old, when they are weaned.
Their beef is direct-marketed where their customers know they are buying local, healthy and clean meat and are assured that the soil and water is being protected for future generations. Wooded areas, grasslands, fence lines, and wetlands provide habitat for pollinators and wildlife. A beekeeper and his bees thoroughly enjoy being on the Bihl farm.
According to the SWCD, Laura’s farming ethic made Homeplace Beef Organic Farm an excellent applicant for the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). As a participant of this program, Laura selected water quality activities to enhance her farming practices.
In early December, Laura will receive and be honored as an “Outstanding Conservationist” at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Annual Convention. This award is given by “The Farmer” magazine. The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District congratulates and thanks Laura Bihl for her hard work in conservation, which helps improve Minnesota’s natural resources.
Article compliments of Wright County Press.