Austin Handel – South Dakota

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Whether it’s cattle or the land, Austin Handel is dedicated to tending it for future generations. Handel operates a cow-calf operation and farms soybeans, corn and alfalfa in Menno, South Dakota.

Tending the Land for Future Generations 

Austin Handel’s dedication to agriculture and tending the land stems back to his family’s roots. For over 100 years, his family has been farming the same land Handel cares for today. 

Handel started farming full time in 2018, and his goal is to keep getting better every year and continuously improve so he can pass the land to future generations. Whether it’s keeping his cow-calf herd healthy or his soybean fields weed-free to mitigate weed resistance, when Handel finds a solution he likes, he sticks to it.

“It takes a lot to make a change on my operation. There’s certain cattle treatments and vaccines that I swear by and I will use every time because they work,” Handel says. “And that’s how I am with most things.”

Like most ranchers, Handel’s loyalty to his cattle runs deep.

“I’m always there for my cattle. And even when they upset me or there’s a calf being born at 2 in the morning in negative 30 degrees, you have to deal with them and help them,” Handel says. “I guess that’s just being loyal and that’s probably the one thing that I’m more loyal to than anything.”

Taking care of cattle is a 24/7 job, and in the summer months, Handel is balancing taking care of both his cattle and his crops. But his cattle take priority, which is one of the reasons he decided to switch from dicamba-tolerant soybeans to Enlist E3® soybeans.

“In the summer, sometimes you got other stuff you need to be doing before the end of June, and if you use the dicamba system, it’s hard to get spraying done on time when the cattle need my attention,” Handel says. “With the Enlist system, I can shut the sprayer down for a day or two to go work cows or do something else that needs to be done. That’s a big plus.”

Beyond dicamba cutoff dates, Handel experienced drift issues after following the dicamba label. He then knew he had to make a change on his operation.

“With the dicamba system, we experienced upset neighbors, and what ended my use with dicamba was when it damaged my wife’s garden pretty bad,” Handel says. “It was over 100 yards away from the field, and we really shouldn’t be using technology that can cause damage that far away. If we were to spray a field around town and something like that happened, it’s only going to lead to people being upset with you. And that’s the last thing we need is people coming out and telling us how we can and can’t farm.”

In addition, Handel needed the tank-mix flexibility that the Enlist® weed control system offers to not only control his tough kochia acres but also help mitigate weed resistance for future generations.

Controlling Kochia

Over the past few years, South Dakota has been experiencing drought pressure. Kochia becomes a pertinent problem when dry conditions occur. With dicamba cutoff dates, Handel didn’t have late-season protection against kochia. When he switched to the Enlist system, he not only had more time to spray but also more modes of action in the tank with Enlist One® and Liberty® herbicides.

“Any field where we applied Enlist One herbicide plus Liberty herbicide, it stayed clean,” Handel says. “Versus with dicamba, you’re basically done managing your weeds by the end of June and Liberty alone won’t control it.”

Handel found weed control success on his heavy kochia acres with this tank mix.

“We had carpets of kochia I would call it, and when we came back with the Enlist [One] plus Liberty, it knocked them out — and that was the end of them,” Handel says. “With the Enlist system, you get really good coverage and you are hitting that weed with multiple modes of action, and it fries ’em.”

After implementing the Enlist system, Handel has been happy with the switch and has seen overall good yield results. Plus, being able to apply multiple modes of action throughout the summer gives Handel peace of mind on not only his clean-fields but also preserving the land for future generations.

“It’s a beautiful world, and we are merely tending the land to pass on to our kids,” Handel says. “That’s my mentality and why I want to make my operation better every day and year.”

To learn more about the Enlist system and how to control acres with heavy kochia pressure, talk with your local Corteva Agriscience representative or visit


™ ® Enlist, Enlist E3 and Enlist One are trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. ® Liberty is a registered trademark of BASF. The transgenic soybean event in Enlist E3® soybeans is jointly developed and owned by Corteva Agriscience and M.S. Technologies L.L.C. Enlist Duo® and Enlist One® herbicides are not registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your area. Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides are the only 2,4-D products authorized for use with Enlist® crops. Consult Enlist herbicide labels for weed species controlled. Always read and follow label directions. 


Austin Handel

Problem weeds: Kochia, waterhemp