Anne and Peter Schwagerl—Prairie Point Farm
Q: Anne- tell us a little bit about your farm.
A: I am a fifth generation farmer near Browns Valley, MN. I farm 360 acres of grain as well as manage a small pastured pork operation. My husband and I have been farming for 10 years on this land, transitioning into the family operation. We just had our second harvest of Kernza - we planted our first field in August of 2020.
Q: You may be the #1 spokesperson for Kernza out there Anne. You’ve been interviewed on TV and for articles, podcasts, and radio (and you do a fantastic job by the way!). What makes you so passionate about telling the Kernza story?
A: I think it's an engaging topic for consumers - it's an opportunity to connect folks to where their food comes from and I think consumers want to know more about choices they can make at the grocery store (or restaurant, farmers market, etc) that aligns with their values.
Q: You’ve mentioned experiencing climate swings on the farm. Do you think these swings are related to climate change, and how are you addressing them/ preparing for them and other impacts?
A: Absolutely - I'm a firm believer in science and can see for myself the effects climate change is having on our farm. Part of the reason why we have a diverse crop rotation is to both build our soil health and spread out our risk.
Q: What other crops do you grow?
A: We grow corn, soybeans, oats, rye, and winter camelina.
Q: Do you have a favorite Kernza recipe and if so do you mind sharing?
A: The Kernza pancakes recipe (from Perennial Pantry) has been a crowd favorite in my house that we regularly serve to houseguests and our kids.
Q: What biodiversity exists on your farm? Favorite plant, bird, insect, or animal?
A: Haha, do tomatoes and farm cats count? More seriously, I love to see the carpet of green in different shades over our small grain fields in the spring as the world starts to perk up again after a long winter. I also love taking evening walks in the summer and listening to the toads, crickets, and other insects chirping in the fields.
Q: What do you think the role of the PPGC is, and what would you like to see it accomplish over the next three to five years?
A: I would like to see PPGC become a resource for growers both agronomically and as a marketing cooperative. In the next few years I'd like to see established buyer & seller relationships develop between the Cooperative and purchasers.