Kelsey Lake ‘Farmer of the Year’

Published 3:51 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Photo submitted The Hershberger and Mesko families with state Rep. Matt Lori, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and state Sen. John Proos.

Kelsey Lake Farms are good stewards and true leaders of the ag industry in Cass County. Kevin and Jill Hershberger of Kelsey Lake Farm recently were named the 2010 Cass County Conservation District Farmer of the Year.
Kelsey Lake Farm is a three-generation family farm started back when Kevin worked for Jill’s dad, Jim Mesko. Kevin planted his first crop of his own in 1987.
Today, the family operation is going strong and farming 400 acres. They raise corn, soybeans, hay, seed corn and a few beef cattle.
Kevin and Jill both work off the farm, too.
Kevin works for the Cass County Road Commission and Jill works at the Cass County Sherriff’s Office.
They have two children, Andrew and Arminda.
As a family they all work together to get the job done. Jill takes care of the books, paperwork, runs equipment and whatever else needs to be done.
The kids do anything from feeding the livestock to throwing hay bales.
Jim also continues to have a role in the operation. He is in charge of spraying the crops.
The Hershbergers use no-till practices and worked with NRCS to implement a Pest Management Plan, Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) and put in manure storage.
In 2009 they became MAEAP Verified and in 2010 they hosted the Conservation District’s annual Ag Affair on-farm field day.
MAEAP is an innovative, proactive program that helps farms of all sizes and commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agriculture pollution risks.
It teaches farmers how to identify and prevent environmental risks and to comply with state and federal regulations.
Farmers can be verified in three systems: livestock, farmstead and cropping.
Abbey Dorr, groundwater technician for Cass County, worked with the Hershbergers to complete their assessments and through the verification process.
For more information on the MAEAP or how to get involved, check out the MAEAP website at or contact Abbey Dorr at the Cass County Conservation District at (269)445-8643.