Hometown Farmer - No-till November
A lot of us have heard of "No-Shave November."
But if you're a farmer, have you heard of "No-Till November?"
It's an effort by the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service to promote soil health, by encouraging farmers to stay out of the field.
"I think there's really no reason, on a lot of our soil in Iowa, that farmers shouldn't be adopting no-till," said Jason Johnson, Public Affairs Specialist with the NRCS.
There's a new, month-long campaign from the NRCS this November, it's called "No-Till November."
It encourages farmers to "keep the stubble," on their fields, anyway.
"No-till is a cornerstone for soil health," said Christine Evans, a District Conservationist for the NRCS in Woodbury County.
She says, of the 554,000 crop acres in the county, 311,000 are "highly erodible."
Not tilling up the land in the fall, leaving corn stalks and bean stubble in the fields, can stop that erosion and help keep the soil where it belongs.
But doing that might be hard for someone who's used to the field work.
"It's an aesthetic thing, too," said Evans. "I mean, if you've been tilling year after year after year, they're used to seeing that field be tilled, so leaving it idle, or leaving those corn or bean stubble, is something that is different."
If you have a field full of stubble and you want to let the world know you're taking part in 'No-Till November,' you can!
Use the hashtag #keepthestubble, print off a beard from the NRCS web site, and use it as a decoration when you take a selfie and post the picture to social media.
The online campaign's been pretty successful so far, you can see a few pictures of folks posing with their paper beards.
They might be happy that not tilling saves them time by not being in the field.
It saves farmers money on wear-and-tear on the equipment and less fuel being used.
Plus, it builds up the organic matter in the soil, helping crops grow.
"You're going to get that soil in the right shape and it's going to benefit both agronomically, you're going to get improved yields both ways," said Johnson, about the benefits of no-tilling both corn and soybean ground.
With the incentives the NRCS has for farmers who might want to try no-till on their fields, Christine Evans hopes word-of-mouth makes more growers interested in keeping the stubble.
"What tends to happen, is, we have one or two people come in and sign up for a program and in the next two or three years we get maybe a dozen the next year and maybe a couple of dozen the following year," said Evans. "Which is really good."
When you combine no-tillage with cover crops, Evans says it provides even more benefits for your growing ground.
To learn more about the campaign, and the benefits of "no-till" farming, please visit this web site:
If you think of a farmer that might be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: firstname.lastname@example.org.