The seasons have officially changed, which means the team at Ho-Chunk Farms is geared up for another growing season.
The Farms team will manage 6,200 acres of land total this season, which will mostly be comprised of conventional corn and soybeans, but also 1,000 acres of organic crop. Additionally, they will farm 14 acres of Indian corn.
Additional staff and the recent purchase of a planter with ARPA funding has allowed the Ho-Chunk Farms staff to farm 3,000 acres themselves, up from 1,200 acres from 2022. The remaining acres are farmed by contractors.
A major goal moving forward is acquiring more farmland.
“Our growth is dependent on our ability to acquire land,” said Aaron LaPointe. “We’ve been working with the Tribe on land acquisitions.”
Since its inception, Ho-Chunk Farms has worked directly with the Tribe to increase farmland lease values by creating competition on trust land and separately begin buying back non-trust farmland within the reservation.
The approach has created millions in annual lease payouts for the Tribe and Tribal members. Each of the last two years, Ho-Chunk Farms has returned $1.4 million in farmland lease payouts to the Winnebago Tribe and Tribal members.