March 3, 2024

Hello Grain Place Foundation Blog readers!

My name is Adam, and I am the newest intern at The Grain Place. I graduated in 2017 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Water Science with an emphasis on Watershed Management, along with minors in Fisheries & Wildlife and Environmental Studies. I chose this area of study to understand how human activity affects the natural environment, including water quality and wildlife.

I have a passion for being outdoors and close to nature, and believe that we can all learn how to work better with nature instead of forcing nature to do what it isn’t meant to. Even in my short lifetime, I noticed that many of the lakes that I have fished my whole life would get so green with algal blooms in the summer that it got to be rare that I would catch as many fish as I had when I was younger. This led me to want to do something about water quality in Nebraska, which was the motivation for pursuing my academic studies.

I soon learned that water quality was directly correlated to sediment in runoff due to current conventional farming practices that don’t make enough effort to keep soil in place and use chemicals that have spread throughout both surface and groundwater sources. I watched the documentary “Dreaming of a Vetter World” over a year ago, to learn about what real people in Nebraska are doing to farm in a way that works with nature instead of making nature do our bidding. Knowing that someone has been farming in a sustainable way so close to where I am from was intriguing to say the least.

Earlier this year I reached out to Jay Vetter to see what was available on the farm. The Foundation was able to offer me a three-month internship focused on helping Robert Wattermann, the current resident farmhand, with work on the farm through the end of April. I have been here living in the intern house since the beginning of February and am thoroughly enjoying the experience of learning what all it takes to keep an organic farm running.

Along with being outdoors daily in all sorts of weather conditions, I love working with animals and getting to be around the piglets, hogs, cows, calves, and bulls has been refreshing. They all have their own personalities and habits that make them unique. The pigs like to chew on my rubber boots which can get annoying while I am trying to do something but understanding why they do what they do stimulates my brain. The same goes for many other scenarios on the farm like working with machinery that I got comfortable with quickly to get work done, keeping up on maintenance, and documenting as much as possible not just for my reference but for anyone that is doing the same thing and would like to know how to replicate what is going on at The Grain Place.

Being out here feels like I am on a movie set surrounded by celebrities in the organic farming community that share the same values of working with nature and doing our part to preserve it for future generations. This is my first blog post for the Grain Place Foundation—really the first blog I have written, period. I have some big shoes to fill after Isaac moved on but I am up for the task. I look forward to learning more on the farm and improving my writing skills at the same time. Hopefully all of you reading this will enjoy hearing what life is like on an organic farm and get some new information that gives a different perspective on what it means to be symbiotic with nature. Until next time.

Our Pilot Internship Program is supported through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP). TOPP is a program of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative and is administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP)