Fred Kirschenmann

Leaders in Alternative and Sustainable Agriculture: Oral History Interview Series
Dr. Fred Kirschenmann

Interview by Jane Gates with Fred Kirschenmann with an introduction by Jayne MacLean.
Beltsville, Md. : National Agricultural Library, 1990.


At the time of this interview, Dr. Kirschenmann had returned from the world of academia to operate a 3000+ acre certified organic family farm in Windsor, North Dakota and successfully converted it to organic production. Currently, he shares an appointment as Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He still oversees management of his family's farm and is a professor in the ISU Department of Religion and Philosophy. He is still active in sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation organizations and in demand as a conference speaker.

Access the video in segments from the video menu below or you may watch each segment consecutively to view the full interview. The title for each segment provides a brief description of the topics discussed.

The segments in the Questions section are drawn from the full interview. They duplicate video segments from the menu. These are not verbatim questions asked by the interviewer, but rather topics addressed by Dr. Kirschenmann during the course of his interview. We hope that this will be an informative and interesting way to view the conversation.

The Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Association mentioned has a website that is available at

Video lengths in minutes are approximate.

Video Menu

1. Introduction and early years and formation of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society [13 minutes]

2. Transitioning the farm to organic, crop diversity and marketing [8 minutes]

3. Farm machinery, seeds, energy, cover crop and soil fertility research [12 minutes]

4. Organic weed and pest management, commitment to the land and the future of agriculture [11 minutes]

5. Producer/Consumer relationships and the future [9 minutes]

Watch All Five Parts In Succession  


1. What was the genesis of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society? [4 minutes]

2. What kind of specialized machinery do you use on your farm? [3 minutes]

3. How have you reduced fuel consumption by farming organically? [1 minute]

4. What is the relationship between organic farmers and organic consumers? [3 minutes]

National Agricultural Library Cataloging Record:

Author: Jane Potter Gates; Fred Kirschenmann; National Agricultural Library (U.S.)
Title: Oral history interview with Fred Kirschenmann
Publisher: Beltsville, Md. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library, 1990
Series: AFSIC oral history interview series
Subjects: Kirschenmann, Fred.; Sustainable agriculture; Agricultural ecology; Organic farming
Description: Original format: 1 videocassette (53 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
Note(s): VHS. Title from cassette label. "8-15-90."
NAL Call Number: Videocassette no.877

The National Agricultural Library does not verify the accuracy of the accounts described herein by participants in an Oral History Project. These oral histories are expressions of the views, memories and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy, views or official history of the United States Department of Agriculture or the National Agricultural Library.