Thad and Denise Bridges
Thad and Denise Bridges farm over 2,000 acres of rented land and have a seed corn dealership near Elliott. Thad grew up in Illinois, where he spent time on his grandparents’ farm. He always knew that he wanted to be a farmer. He began farming in Iowa after he graduated from high school in 1991. He and Denise, who grew up in New York, have a daughter, Brittany, who likes being part of a farm family.
Thad believes that “the one who drives the tractor” has a responsibility to work with landowners to implement conservation practices. He works hard to build and maintain good relationships with his landlords. Some of them live in other states, so it is up to him to let them know what is needed to improve their land. He maintains that conservation practices not only increase the value of the land, they increase his profits, too. He has worked with landowners to install grassed waterways, stabilize the Walnut Creek stream bank and is working on a headlands project.
Thad has become a believer of long-term corn-on-corn. He sees increased efficiencies when precisely placing nutrients incorn. It maximizes his time and he is able to use less fertilizer. Denise emphasizes that conservation is a win-win – increasing yearly profits on the farm and improving soil and water quality over time.
Thad is an assistant commissioner for East Pottawattamie County Soil and Water Conservation District. He sees that there is much conservation work yet to be done. He thinks that the definition of conservation has to be broader than just stopping soil erosion and going beyond putting in structures.
The Bridges family enjoys camping, boating and being outdoors. They are also active in their local church.