Mother, Grandmother, and Soil Protector Paula Peterson
Farmers Pay it Forward…In Soil: A progressive Nebraska farmer-built terraces in the 1960s to prevent erosion. Today, Paula is protecting the same soil by rebuilding what he started.
I love farming. I absolutely love it. I grew up spending the summers with my grandparents on their farm where they raised corn, sorghum, cattle, pigs and chickens. I went on to study Ag Economics because I knew I wanted to do something in agriculture. Then I married my husband, Tom, who grew up on his family’s farm. When Tom was in high school, he would cut hay for a local farming family. When we got engaged, they let us rent their farmland in Waverly, Nebraska. We’ve been here for 35 years.
The previous owner of some of our acreage built a lot of terraces, which was innovative for the 60s and 70s. Terraces prevent water from moving quickly over sloped fields, which in turn preserves water and prevents soil erosion. Over time, terraces require a bit of maintenance, and some of these terraces need to be rebuilt. We applied for a cost-share program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Through it we work with the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) to determine the best way to fix the terraces with our current equipment while protecting the soil for both us, the current landowner, and our neighbor. We had great weather this winter, which means we might finish before the end of the year.
Taking care of the land and soil where we farm is essential. We’re working hard to ensure that we leave this land better than we found it.