By Anna Smith
Though they’re usually very private people, the Roth family are pleased and honoured to be the County of 40 Mile’s Farm Family of the Year.
The family has been in the county farming since 1908, said Shelley Roth, and with her son, Brennan Roth, this makes Roth Land and Grain a fifth generation family farm.
“Darren and I are both from the community, I’m from Burdett. And he’s from Bow Island,” said Roth. “The Roths came from Russia, but they’re of German descent.”
The father-son duo have a dryland farming operation, which is where their interest in new and improving practices has helped them both manage the expenses of keeping the operation running as well as mitigate their environmental impact.
“The way we farm now is way way different than the way we used to farm,” said Roth. “The things that Darren used to do with all the technologies and all the things that we have now. For example, you can do zero-till farming so you’re not disturbing the soil, and you don’t have any sort of erosion. You retain a lot more moisture. So you’re getting better crops with less fertilizers.”
They also have crop rotations down to an art, allowing for the soil to heal from each season by taking advantage of the different needs of the plants as the land cycles through cereal, pulse, and oilseed crops.
“We put in solar panels, like a solar field out there, so that we can offset some of our farm’s electrical use. It takes a lot of electricity and a lot of things to be operating to be managing things on the farm,” said Roth. “You have to run the dryers on the bins and such, after all.”
Outside of their farm, the Roths are also active members of their community, with both Darren and Brendan being members of the Fish and Wildlife Society, and Brendan being an integral part of the local Rural Water Co-op.
“We used to do a lot more of that because of our kids’ role in that, sometimes it feels like we don’t do hardly anything. Welcome to the Jungle attending every charity golf classic. And we always support all of those things. And either when we make donations, Roth Land and Grain will make donations to fundraisers when we see them, too,” said Roth.
“We’re not very public people, but it’s been nice to get the acknowledgement with this award,” said Roth. “I think [Darren and Brendan] are very deserving of it, because they do a really good job. They’re very good farmers.”
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