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Our Farm, Our Family


Leon Knirk, and his family, are one of the case study familes for the Ultimate Farm Quest. Learn about their experience.

Third-generation family farmers

Aug 26, 2010

My name's Leon Knirk, and I’m the third generation to farm on our place here in south-central Michigan, near Quincy. My grandfather and father farmed here and worked together, and I’m taking over from my father, Dick, who’s now retired. I worked several years with him after I came back to the farm in 1999.

My wife, Jennifer, and I have been married 15 years. We have a son, Lincoln, who’s 2 and a new baby boy, born just this week, named Logan.
I was a professional golfer after college, when Jennifer and I met and got married. Moving to the farm was a huge but good change for both of us and our family. Sometimes, when I can catch a moment in the evening, I like to walk around and look at this ground that’s been in our family for years.
We have about 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. Along with that, we feed out about 500 head of Holsteins each year.
We farm a lot of dirt that many people probably wouldn’t want to farm. There’s a lot of rock and sand, and a lot of light soils. My water-holding capacity is pretty low. We’ve never irrigated anything, but that’s something I’m looking into for the future, as water has been a limiting factor for us.
Technology brings a lot to our farming efforts. We’ve done grid sampling. Now, we’re using management zones and things like variable-rate nitrogen and variable-rate seeding. I started using auto-steer as well, which has helped create efficiencies and allows me to run longer and probably safer.
I’m excited about participating in the Ultimate Farm Quest program. I’m hoping to learn about other new technology we can implement and also more about the business aspects of farming and managing our financial resources.
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