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I look forward to someday sitting on my porch drinking a glass of bourbon made from corn and rye grown on my farm and smoking a cigar made entirely from tobacco I produced. To get there, I need to deliver near-perfect grains and leaves in an area that not so long ago was considered unfit for row crops.
Growing up in the rolling hills between Louisville and Lexington, Ky., my farm experience was tobacco and livestock. If you touched a plow to the hills and swales they would erode immediately. As a result, most of the area was beef cattle and dairies with 5-15 acres on the best ridgetop devoted to high-value tobacco production.
The land on those hills was of temptingly good quality, though, so no-till was quickly adopted by many in the region early in the game. No-till opened up 60% more arable acres on our farm. I raise crops in areas my grandfather and father would never have dreamed possible.
We’re still transitioning land from pasture to row-crop production. I have a new farm this year that’s been in cattle for decades. I’m confident I can crop it and leave it in better shape as it’s currently eroding due to grazing practices.
NAME: Doug Langley
FARM: Langley Farms
LOCATION: Shelbyville, Ky.