Maintaining Legacy in The Driftless Area: Wisconsin chicken producer shares commitment to sustainability

At Rippley Family Farms in Buffalo County, Wisconsin, “sustainability” is not just a buzzword. Rather, it is a lasting commitment to preserving the farm for its third generation and ensuring its success in the years to come.

For Ed Rippley of Rippley Family Farms, sustainability goes beyond day-to-day operations, it is a collection of actions that contribute toward an agricultural legacy. As a chicken grower for Pilgrims, the meat and crops the farm produces play a vital role in supplying Quick Trip, and emphasize the local connection between the farm and the community around
it.

From the very start, Rippley envisioned a future where his grandchildren could continue to visit the farm, maintaining a connection to the land that has been cultivated for generations in The Driftless Region of Wisconsin. He proudly shares that his current flock is the 141st in a line that spans more than two decades.

“Sustainability means being able to farm on this land for the third generation, and to keep it for the future generations, which — I have already grandkids that come to see me on this farm,” Rippley said.

The Buffalo Country farm has actively participated in environmental initiatives since the 1990s. In particular, they work with Wamadi Watershed to tackle local environmental projects addressing barnyard runoff, bank restoration, and strip cropping. These efforts aim to maintain soil integrity and prevent erosion, ensuring that valuable topsoil does not wash away into nearby creeks.

What are some of Rippey’s other sustainability goals? In the future, he plans to adapt to no-till farming practices. This technique helps hold the ground in place, preventing soil erosion and promoting long-term soil health.

Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of not working the hills of his acreage, opting to keep the hilltops covered with grasslands or hay fields. This not only serves as a practical means to feed his animals but also contributes to the preservation of the landscape and native plant species.

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