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Regent producer hopeful for good sunflower crop on land that had been CRP for decades

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 1:21 PM CDT
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REGENT, N.D. – We’ve heard a lot about CRP land this summer, as ranchers got emergency authorization to make hay in those plots. It’s a good solution during a drought like this.

The idea behind CRP is to not work the land for 10-15 years and control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat.

As CRP contracts end, producers have to decide whether they’ll re-enroll the land, or being farming and ranching the land again.

One Regent farmer may have found the perfect crop to get that land from CRP back into farmland.

Josh Greff is pretty pleased with these sunflowers.

“The leaves on them look nice yet and they’re starting to fill in,” he said while examining the plants.

This 240-acre field is a trial of sorts.

“We went big,” Greff laughed. “I guess that is a heck of a trial! But we had to put something on it.”

He’s trying to find a crop that will do well on land that’s been CRP for decades.

“We figured, ‘Why not try flowers?’”

These sunflowers are the first crop planted on this land in nearly 40 years. Greff says while the plants are a little short it should be a good crop.

“We know sunflowers have a good tap root so we figured we’d use sunflower to break it up,” he explained.

Greff used a vertical tiller to break up the ground when he planted the flowers.

“We used that to kind of loosen up the soil and then level it a little bit. Then we planted right into it. We have probably the nicest stands we have out of any of our flowers,” he said.

In fact, of all the sunflowers he planted, Greff says this field might yield just as good, if not better, than his other sunflower fields.

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