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Working Soil in the Winter

MOUNT VERNON, IA (CBS2/FOX28) While most farmers are spending their winter months prepping for the planting season, some are already getting their hand in the soil. The purpose is to diversify their output to help deal with bad weather in other parts of the year. But that crop diversity means working year-round.

While Iowas rolling farm land hides under a thin layer of powder, John Kroul and the few farmers like him work a different kind of soil.

"Everybody's very anxious after this winter to see green, said Mount Vernon Farmer John Kroul.

One major payoff, while the temperatures drop outside, the greenhouses are kinda nice to work in when it's zero out so it's kind of a nice break from cutting firewood all winter, said Kroul.

John raises cattle and grows crown like most other Iowa farmers, but when it gets too cold, he takes his green thumb inside.

"For us it's just risk-management, said Kroul. It spreads the income out, it spreads the risk out that we're taking.

What are now seedlings will eventually be onions and flowers sold directly to customers. He says that business accounts for about 20% of the money he makes each year.

"In the next three weeks we'll fill three greenhouses with stuff like this, said Kroul.

It wont make up for a completely lost summer crop, but it puts less pressure on just a few months of the year. The problem is that so few people do this kind of farming that its not covered under crop insurance and doesnt even fall under the Farm Bill.

"They just don't have a handle on yields and production to insure it, said Kroul.

That means when John diversifies to be safe, he takes on some
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