Soil Health Academy Secretary/Treasurer
Chad Christianson lives in East Central Nebraska on a farm near Fremont. Along with his wife, Dawn, they operate CDC Farms. The farm consists of dryland and irrigated row crops like the typical corn and soybeans but also does seed corn production. Chad is a first generation farmer who married into a multi-generation family farm but had absolutely no intention of ever farming. His father was in the trucking industry and he always thought that was the route he wanted to follow. After completing his truck diesel degree in college he turned wrenches for a few years until his father helped him purchase his first truck to be an owner operator. Chad loved what he did but after marrying his high school sweetheart the thought of growing his family while being away so much he decided to switch his trucking passion into the business side and pursued a career in dispatch to be home more with his wife and two girls. Being home more allowed him to also help out once in a while for Dawn’s parents on the farm. Her father realized that his mechanical skills and passion for detail was a great fit on the farm and he really caught the growing “bug”. With her folks growing older and needing more help he transitioned to full time on the farm and over the past number of years he has fully taken over the business.
With no real farming background, Chad didn’t have any past routines or habits to follow from previous generations so he was an “outside the box” thinker. They did fall and spring tillage on almost every acre and he always wondered why he was wasting the hours and fuel doing that when he noticed some other producers were doing fine without the tillage. This led him to talking his in-laws into trying a few acres of no-till. After a couple years of expanding the no-till with great success his father-in-law couldn’t believe why they didn’t start doing that decades earlier. After taking over the family farm he started attending no-till conferences in the winter months and heard Ray Archuleta speak. That one hour Ray presentation was all it took to completely change Chad’s life over the next decade.
Chad slowly started learning more from endless reading, networking with people he met at soil health events and attending more conferences and clinics all over the Midwest. He started with aerial applying single species cover crops in the fall in his corn and soybean acres to now direct seeding multi species forage cover crop mixes following winter wheat so he can rotationally custom graze cattle. Chad transitioned the farm from full tillage and only growing crops half of the year to now following the 6 principles as best he can and to have a living root in the soil as often as possible. Things have definitely not been easy on this journey with many mistakes and failures but he turned those into learning opportunities along the way. With help from many friends and attending a few Soil Health Academy’s and many other similar events, he’s learned that the education and adapting never stop. We need to never give up when things don’t work out but use those instances to make changes for the future.
Chad truly believes that all health starts in the soil with our underground livestock. His farm logo has a saying, “Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants = Healthy People”. Today the whole family shares this passion. Both of his daughters would like to come back to the farm if possible so they are doing as much as they can to preserve and improve their soils along with expanding enterprises to make that happen.