Farming; it’s an experiment and a lifestyle

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — Farming is an important part of our local economy. For local producer Andy Groskopf, it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. 

Groskopf currently grows corn and dry edible beans alongside his family on 900 acres just north of Scottsbluff.

Groskopf, a fourth-generation farmer, actually attended WNCC for auto body and mechanics and worked in the industry for a few years.

“It was either feast or famine. It was hard to make a living at it,” Groskopf said.

He then got a job at a feedlot before renting his first farm in 2007 and never looked back.

“Oh, I love what I do,” Groskopf said. “Grew up beside my dad and just seem to add to it and I wanted to do it.”

He still uses his mechanics education everyday when a tractor or piece of machinery needs fixing.

Groskopf likes to rotate his crops. 

“It’s good for the ground to rotate it,” he said. “The dry beans that we grow, they actually bring nitrogen up, where the corn uses nitrogen.” 

Groskopf also embraces the new technologies such as no till farming.

“We’re getting into more no till practices. I like it. I think I’m doing my soil health a big favor by not doing all the tillage,” Groskopf said. “It’s just been kind of this new fun experiment. But I think that’s the way the future of our industry is going.”

“It’s an eastern Nebraska thing and it’s moving more this way, or kind of as an industry as a whole. What we need to do in this business is to reduce our trips through the field. One, to save money. And then the other, the less you disturb that soil, the better off you are because you got good bugs and you got earthworms and all that stuff working for you and when you disturb it, it disturbs their way of life. So, the more you can leave that ground without tilling it, I personally believe the better off you are and there’s rewards from it,” Groskopf said. “Last year, we saw our corn probably emerge three days earlier than usual just from no till farming. Less erosion and stuff like that and pivot tracks were very minimal compared to where we do tillage. It’s all a learning thing. What works this year isn’t going to work next year. It’s all different. It’s all trial and error.”

In addition to no till practices, GPS driven tractors and cell phone-controlled pivots are additions that Groskopf really enjoys. 

“So, with the GPS stuff and precision agriculture, it’s really helped us out a lot as farmers. We can double our production. Sit in the tractor longer during the day, like planting, for example, you can watch everything and just fine tune everything. You’re just sitting there watching everything. You’re not physically driving it and you’re more efficient on your fertilizer placement and you’re seeding.”

Groskopf says, “technology on the farm is the way of the future.”

“I’m all about running my center pivots off the cell phone. That is the best money I’ve ever spent. It’s just great for peace of mind. I can look at my phone and see, okay, that’s going and it’s here and stuff.”

When not taking care of the family farm, Groskopf serves as the district eight director for the Nebraska Corn Board. He oversees the entire Panhandle and some of the central Nebraska counties. Some of the projects the board is currently working on include promoting blender pumps for ethanol at filling stations, biodegradable plastics made from corn, and making fly ash for concrete out of corn stover.

Groskopf is at the end of his governor appointed first three-year term and hopes to be reappointed.

Groskopf also serves as the Scotts Bluff County Farm Bureau President where he works with local 4-H and FFA chapters.

Groskopf admits that although the work is hard, he loves what he does and hopes to continue his work. “It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Groskopf. “It’s not really a job. It’s a lifestyle.”



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