2021 Outstanding Conservationist for Kandiyohi County
The Kandiyohi County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is pleased to announce Ken and Lynnae Hess, of Horseshoe Grove Bison Farm, as the 2021 Outstanding Conservationists for Kandiyohi County.

In 2012, with the plan of getting into ranching, the two moved back to Lynnae’s 74-year-old family farm located in Irving Township in north east Kandiyohi County.  With the desire of owning bison, the two joined the Minnesota Bison Association and attended Grass Works conferences to better educate themselves on Bison and grass/forage management.  They learned, if you can grow grass properly, the bison will raise themselves.

The Hess’s herd started in 2013 with 13 bison.  They have since grown their herd to 70 bison.  Their operation consists of 178 acres of pasture and cropland.  From the beginning, the Hess’s have worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a rotational grazing plan consisting of 14 paddocks through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.  The bison are moved to a new paddock every 2-4 days, depending on time of year and the growth of the grass.  The cropland acres owned by the Hess’s are certified organic and rented out to local organic producers.  These acres are included in the grazing rotation as well; the crop residue is grazed in the fall and the cover crops in the spring.

The meat produced by the Hess’s bison is sold locally and at several farmers markets.  In addition to Bison, Ken and Lynnae raise free range chickens and tend honeybee hives on the farm.  

In 2020, the farm became Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certified.  This certification is a voluntary program aimed at assisting landowners to implement and maintain water quality practices and standards on their property.  Ken and Lynnae strive to maintain a productive operation that conserves those productive qualities for future generations. 

For an excellent view into their operation, check out the clip titled “Rotational Grazing of Organic Bison in Central Minnesota” located on the Minnesota NRCS YouTube page.

The Kandiyohi SWCD appreciate Ken and Lynnae for all their hard work and passion for finding the balance between ranching and conservation!



 

List of Outstanding Conservationists
 
 
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