Grower Connect: Zortman Family
Grower Connect: Jeff Zortman family
Learn how the Zortman family is helping make sorghum even more sustainable.
Jeff Zortman is a fourth-generation farmer from Fowler, KS, managing a family farm that dates back to the 1880s. Early in his career, Jeff worked in the aviation industry as a software designer. He met his wife Catalina before moving back to Fowler to farm with his father and raise a family which now includes four children: Elijah, Abby, Alex, and Eliana. In addition to sorghum, the Zortman family also grows wheat, corn, and soybeans.
His background in managing information has profoundly impacted his current operations, as he utilizes data-based decision-making in advancing sustainable agriculture practices. “There is so much more information available to farmers today,” Jeff told us. “For example, precision agriculture tools have allowed us to become even more efficient in our ability to save water and further reduce fertilizer use.”
Jeff thinks about sustainability and conserving resources in generational terms. “My approach is rooted in my ability to pass this land on to my children and in such condition that they can be successful.”
Jeff and his family are strong supporters of sorghum’s sustainable credentials. “With sorghum’s efficient use of natural resources, we would love to grow more of it, but the economics need to be there, too,” he said. “More demand for sorghum in food could generate more widespread positive environmental impacts by displacing highly irrigated, high input crops in Western Kansas.”