Two Companies Make Our Organic Soil
Our compost operation is a unique partnership between an excavation company and a ranch both owned by Tom and Lisa Kroll here in New Richmond, WI. In the early 80s, Tom and Lisa started a successful excavating business all while keeping a hobby farm with a few horses. With the economic downturn of the 2000s, excavating became less lucrative. The company downsized, and the farm grew. Tom kept busy running the excavating company by himself while Lisa decided to turn the hobby farm into a successful horse operation called Kroll Performance Horses. In the beginning, all the manure from the stalls and paddocks would get put into windrows for composting. Once mature, the compost would then get applied to the hay fields and garden. We saw how plants flourished in the compost and decided that we should market it to others. The excavating business had sold pulverized top soil in the past, so we decided to sell compost in conjunction with the top soil.
A Family that Composts
Compost requires a great deal of time, energy, and knowledge. Making compost starts long before the manure is mixed with amendments and piled into windrows; it starts with soil itself. Virtually all the nutritional value in the compost comes from plants that grow in the soil. The soil needs to be farmed so that those nutrients can be extracted by the plants and given to livestock, which use some of the nutrients, but not all of them. Finally the manure has to be gathered in windrows, mixed with amendments, and churned periodically. This is not a job for one person, but a whole family. Tom works the land to make sure our crops are healthy and get harvested without complications. When we harvest crops we want it to go as smoothly as possible. Of course, machinery is bound to break, but Tom literally has a lifetime of mechanical know-how to fix anything. As much time as Tom has spent with machinery, Lisa has spent with animals, more specifically, horses. She runs the farm, making decisions pertaining to nutrition, training, and finances. Brittany trains horses like her mother and acts as Lisa’s partner in Kroll Performance Horses. She has a Degree in Agricultural Business from UW-River Falls and is the go-to source for questions about growing and maintaining plants and animals. Mike, like his father, works with the crops and machinery, but also oversees all composting activities. He is currently pursuing a degree in Physics and Agricultural Engineering at UW-River Falls. Click here to learn more about Our Family.