Gabe Brown Dirt to Soil

Digging Into Noteworthy No-Till Literature

In February 2022 issue of No-Till Farmer’s Conservation Tillage Guide, retired ag engineer Randall Reeder of Ohio State University and retired USDA soil scientist Don Reicosky shared the outcomes of a survey they conducted to identify the most significant works in no-till research and literature. The list of 30 books, articles and academic papers included 15 identified by North American scholars and 15 chosen by a global contingent. In this and other upcoming issues, we will be sharing summaries and highlights from some of these works. 

We take a look this month at a book that’s not on the list, though it is widely read in agricultural circles, the regenerative ag scripture “Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture,” by Gabe Brown.

Reeder and Reicosky’s list, as well as links to many of the individual works, are available at

Dirt to Soil By Gabe Brown, 2018

James Watt didn’t invent the steam engine.

I learned he did in grade school, but it’s wrong. Watt actually created something to make existing steam engines more efficient.

Watt’s truly novel invention was a hand-cranked version of the copy machine. Why? Everyone was suing him all the time for everything because of his marvelous invention. He was the only person in the world of the 1770s who needed to rapidly make copies to keep up with lawsuits. Everyone else in those pre-steam engine days got sued only once or twice.

The world economy at the time needed an efficient…

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Brian o connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor started at Lessiter Media as the Lead Content Editor for Conservation Agriculture in November 2021. He previously worked in daily print journalism for more than a decade in places as far flung as Alaska and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he shared a national award for coverage of two Category 5 hurricanes that struck the islands in 2017. He's also taught English in Korea, delivered packages for Amazon, and coordinated Wisconsin election night coverage for the Associated Press. His first job was on a Southeast Wisconsin farm.

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