Roy Pfaltzgraff uses sustainable soil health practices on his farm in Haxtun, Colorado. (Eric Forbes)
Discussing soil health with dryland farmer Roy Pfaltzgraff
The only water Roy Pfaltzgraff has for his crops in Haxtun, Colorado, is what comes out of the sky, and that is not much during this mega-drought that has been devastating the West. Despite extremely difficult growing conditions, Pfaltzgraff still produces crops at a decent yield, in large part due to his soil health practices.
Pfaltzgraff is part of Colorado’s Saving Tomorrow’s Agricultural Resources (STAR) soil health program and is the only farmer in Colorado, as of October 2022, to receive a maximum of five stars for the soil health of his fields. The outstanding soil health in his fields also impacts food quality, and Pfaltzgraff is passionate about producing a quality product compared to the conventional farming focus on yield. With an associate’s degree in culinary arts, he has crafted several delicious gluten-free mixes using millet flour, corn, and other crops on his farm.
Pfaltzgraff believes that it is important for people to get to know farmers and understand how food is produced. Farmers and producers like Pfaltzgraff will be profiled for their soil health practices in an upcoming three-part documentary series called “Hold Our Ground,” which I am helping produce with the Colorado State University Center for Science Communication.