As No-Till Farmer celebrates the start of its 50th year in 2022, its editors have announced a new initiative -- the “Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship” -- to broaden farmers’ understanding about how to realize economic and sustainability success through no-till and conservation ag.

No-Till Farmer is sponsoring a year-long “Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship.” Sponsored by No-Till Farmer, the novel “Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship” program aligns staff editors all year long with an experienced no-till farmer. Editors will share (via all print and digital channels) the real-time decision-making and solutions needed to make no-till and conservation practices work in real-world conditions.

No-Till Farmer editors selected Jim Leverich, a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis., as the 2022 Conservation Ag Fellow. His 1,000-acre farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984.

An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his prior contributions at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the 2006 No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category).

The new content series, commencing with the April 2022 edition, examines a variety of subjects throughout the year, including cropping decisions, attachment/equipment purchases, test plots, seeding/planting conditions and on-the-go decisions in response to weather and other variables. The series will also feature a novel “Ask the Operator” online forum in which No-Till Farmer subscribers may ask Leverich for advice and/or questions about results he’s seen on his own no-till farm.

The capstone of the project includes a final report on performance and results (including soil, yield and cost data) and a featured presentation at the 31st Annual National No-Tillage Conference in 2023.

“Success in the transition to no-till requires greater management skills than conventional farming,” says Frank Lessiter, founding editor of No-Till Farmer. “Explaining the many variables and decisions is not easily conveyed in a single article, webinar or presentation. As we begin our 50th year, we looked for a unique way to bring best practices to growers for increased confidence in expanding their no-till acreages.

“We’re pleased that Jim Leverich, a gifted writer and presenter, accepted our offer to contribute in this way, and to help set a standard for this program for years to come.”

This summer, No-Till Farmer will invite growers to participate in the 2023 program.