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Starting a farm from scratch using no-till, EQIP and CSP programs proved the best and easiest path to production for my wife, Cassandra, and me
Capital was in short supply when we set out to farm in Walker, Iowa, in 2010. I had just graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in ag systems technology and a minor in agronomy. Cassandra graduated from Kirkwood Community College with a degree in greenhouse management.
Fortunately, we had some fantastic help getting us going in the field. Critical to our successful start was utilizing the amazing teams at the Linn County FSA and NRCS offices and our local Farm Credit Services office. Through them we had access to guidance, and we were able to borrow money for equipment and use contracts to lower initial costs. We could learn no-till and cover cropping as we farmed our first rented acres, and we got to see the process work. It was a low-risk way to learn farming, and it really sealed the deal on no-till. By 2012, we were growing cover crops, and we added cereal rye production to our corn and soybeans in 2013.
In 2014, we looked a little better to the banks and were able to purchase our own farm and rent some acres. Two landlords chose to rent to us because we were no-tilling. They saw we were young and trying to do things right, and they wanted to help. Getting land is highly competitive, so we really appreciate these…