Effingham County Soil and Water Conservation District has selected Emil Lagerhausen of Lagerhausen Farms as its Conservation Farm Family of the Year.
Emil farms approximately 1,800 acres around the Shumway area. Emil’s brother, Dave, began farming with him in 1992 after their father retired from the farm.
Emil began helping his father on the farm at the age of 8 and he has been working the farm since. Emil bought his first piece of property to farm at age 19. He attended Lake Land College for two years and obtained an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agriculture.
Corn, soybeans and wheat, followed by double crop beans, are the current cash crops raised on Lagerhausen Farms. Emil is currently implementing a rotation utilizing cereal rye as a cover crop. Following up his rotation of wheat and no-till double crop beans, he plants cereal rye as a cover crop ahead of the next year’s no-till bean crop. After this point, he can either continue with the same rotation or switch to corn. Emil said he likes the thought of the cereal rye offering his soil a continuous year-round cover.
Emil has implemented several other conservation practices on the acres he currently operates. Along with using cereal rye as a cover crop, he tries to no-till all his wheat and soybean acres. He has close to 4 miles worth of waterways, 1.5 miles of field border berms with 20 risers, and 100 acres of PTO Terraces consisting of close to 5 miles worth of terraces with 45 risers.
Some other conservation practices that he has had constructed include 11 WASCOBS, 10 dry dams, six toe walls, 25 rock chutes, six ponds, two quail program CRP areas, two riparian CRP areas, and other projects currently being installed.
Emil has been married to his wife, Melissa, for 33 years. They have three sons, Jeremy, Daniel and Andrew.
Jeremy and his wife, Jessica, live in Atlanta and both work for Nestle Purina. Daniel owns his own business, Farmers First Agronomy LLC, and is an agronomist in Faulkton, South Dakota. Andrew has a girlfriend, Jessica, and is an engineer for John Deere at the Product Engineering Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Both Emil and Melissa have been actively involved with their community over the years. Emil was an active member of 4-H when he was younger and was still involved as all three of his boys were actively involved showing animals and other projects. Emil served as a director for the Effingham County Soil and Water Conservation District for 16 years. He also acted as Area 3 VP, LUC 10 Director, and served on the Illinois State Soil and Water board for six years. He also spent 10 years as a board member for the local Farm Service Co-op now known as South Central FS and served one term on the Unit 20 School board.
Both Emil and Melissa are active members of their church, Faith Lutheran Church of Shumway, where Emil served as treasurer, chairman, and elder on their board. Melissa is involved with the church, as well as volunteering as the pastor’s secretary and teaching Sunday School for 24 years. She served on the AISWCD Auxiliary board for six years, including four as secretary/treasurer. Both are current members of Effingham County Farm Bureau, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Wheat Association, with whom Melissa served as a board member for one term. Emil and Melissa purchased the local Shumway Grade School 10 years ago and recently donated the building to Enduring Freedom Ministries, which is a local food pantry that now serves over 1,000 families a month. Both Emil and Melissa are active volunteers with this ministry.