Sustainable farming fits well with Earth Day theme

Illinois corn and soybean grower Jason Lay farms as if every day is Earth Day.  Lay strip tills corn and no-tills soybeans, plus he uses cover crops.  He says it’s for the sake of those who will farm the land after him.

“I only intend on doing this career for so many years and then it’s got to be left in, I would say, hopefully, better condition than when I took it over,” said Lay, during an interview with Brownfield Ag News, “so in order to do so, we’re going to have start to implement more practices and truly understand how do we make a soil better.”

Northern Indiana farmer Mike Long could see he was losing topsoil with every tillage pass he made.  When he decided to give up tillage, he fully committed.  He sold every piece of tillage iron on his place.

“I did not want to be tempted to go back to the old way,” said Long, “because I knew it wasn’t working.”

As a result of no-till farming since the early 90s, Long says his farm is becoming more resilient.

“We don’t have the tendency to follow the extremes anymore,” said Long.  “In an extremely wet year we can utilize that moisture to a better extent; it infiltrates into the ground quicker.  During a dry year we have the reserves to get us through the dry year.”

Both Jason Lay and Mike Long are part of the Soil Health Partnership, using conservation farming practices, including cover crops and reduced tillage.

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