Salina Area Farmer Named KSU Ag Alumni Fellow

Justin Knopf believes that a major part of his life as a farmer is to build a partnership with the land. Not just today, tomorrow…but every day.

“Knopf Farms,” he said, “is on a journey of stewardship and partnering with a biological system that we work with every single day as a farmer.”

The dedication that Knopf has put into his career in agriculture was recently recognized by Kansas State University, which has named him a College of Agriculture Alumni Fellow.

The award is given to an alumnus from each college at K-State who has been influential in their career.

Knopf graduated from K-State in 2000 with a degree in agronomy and spent three years working in the seed industry before returning full-time to the family farm a few miles east of Salina.

“I began to quickly realize some of the practices that we were doing at Knopf Farms did not lead to a soil function that would efficiently capture and store water when our plants needed it,” Knopf said.

The farm, he notes, switched to a no till system, which helps to keep the soil covered and minimizes disturbance to the soil.

“The soil is a very resilient system inherently, and very slow to change,” Knopf said. “That is good in many ways, but also means it is slow to make changes. We’re working on practices that not only protect the soil, but restore it.”

Knopf added that he considers the soil as the foundation to how people see natural resources because they interact with soil every day.

Another practice at Knopf Farms aimed at increasing diversity in the biological system is using crop rotations and cover crops. Knopf said the farm works to integrate livestock to graze on the forage.

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