Sustainable Crop/Animal Integration

Document created by Jenn Simons on Jun 2, 2013Last modified by Jenn Simons on Feb 28, 2014
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Jim Bender

Jim Bender with Katie Richards and McKenzie Rogers from Ashland-Greenwood High School


  • Jim Bender's farm is oriented around a well-organized crop rotation that integrates his cow/calf operation. Bender seeks to incorporate large environmental goals within his operation in a manner that similar farming systems can work toward while maintaining economic viability. Author of Future Harvest: Pesticide-free Farming, the full interview with Jim is packed with well thought-out components of what can influence a farm's sustainability.
  • Use this video clip (5:47) to encourage classroom discussion on why crop/animal integration schemes may prove beneficial and what effects greater amounts of diversity on the farm can have.
  • Use this "Discussion Document" to foster student discussion about the video or as a guideline for how to incorporate these materials into your daily lesson plans. Check out the outline of the full interview to identify other relevant topics from this interview.


  • No website
  • Call (402) 267-2955 for visits

  Teaching Objectives:

  • To think critically about conventional farming schemes with crops and/or animals
  • To examine the importance of land stewardship

  Discussion questions:

  • How might you convince a farmer to integrate crop and animal systems on his/her operation?
  • What benefits are seen from having a diversified farm?
  • What other mixed crops and livestock might be integrated?
  • What kind of farming systems are dominant worldwide? Are monoculture or integrated systems more common?
  • How would you measure the sustainability of Jim Bender's operation? What could be improved?

Location: 8207 144th St, Weeping Water, NE

Map data: Google Earth 2013