Brendon Rockey is a third-generation Colorado potato farmer showing producers across the globe how to improve farm health with biotic methods.
The focus of his approach is life. On Rockey Farms, biological inputs like companion crops, livestock, green manure and flower strips replace synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. His system sustains yields, has greater water efficiency and supports a flourishing ecosystem encouraging beneficial insects, soil microbes and carbon cycling. In addition to managing the farm’s annual potato crop, Rockey grows quinoa, flax and lentils, and welcomes local cows, sheep and bees to graze green manure and flowering fields.
Rockey Farms also produces year-round certified seed potatoes in its greenhouse. Three crops originating from potato plant tissue cultured in the farm’s lab are grown annually. Brendon uses biologically amended potting soil to promote crop health and uniformity, and flowering companion crops to create beneficial insect habitat, which serves as his main form of insect management.
Brendon is a National Association of Conservation District Soil Health Champion and Colorado Certified Potato Growers Association board member. He devotes his time to many local, national and international soil health focused organizations through speaking events and workshops. In 2014, Rockey Farms was awarded the National Potato Council Environmental Stewardship Award for its practices. In 2011, the farm was recognized with the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts Farming Division Conservationist of the Year Award.
Brendon believes soil health is the foundation of a healthy farm and food system. Soil health is the key to an efficient agroecosystem, one that reaps economic benefits while providing a nutritious, safe product for the consumer. For all these reasons, soil health is a priority. Healthy soils. Healthy farms. Healthy people.