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INTERSEEDING SUCCESS. Soybeans sprout among rows of cereal rye in one of Loran Steinlage’s West Union, Iowa, fields. He plants twin 30-inch rows for seed quality and to prevent driving over any plants. Photo: Loran Steinlage

Flexible Mindset, Networking Propel No-Till Beyond Farm Borders

On an early February day, FLOLO Farms in West Union, Iowa, may appear to be at a standstill, awaiting the bustle of planting season. But while the fields remain frozen and snow-covered, Loran Steinlage’s operation is as active as ever. 

Steinlage, a 2020 No-Till Innovator Award recipient, is a networker constantly seeking ways to bring people together for the benefit of the community — and his community extends far beyond his farm neighbors. He and his wife, Brenda, open their home to a host of family, friends and guests looking for his advice. 

“The ability to help somebody learn from themselves is probably the biggest attribute I offer,” Steinlage says. “Paying attention to detail, and helping people make the right connections.”

On this particular day, Ohio No-Till Farmer Legend Dave Brandt, a small business owner who uses Steinlage’s corn to make tortillas, a rep from the Iowa Corn Growers Association, plus several of Steinlage’s kids and grandkids, gathered. Throughout the conversations with his guests, the 2023 Conservation Ag Operator Fellow illustrated how he’s thinking beyond the borders of his farm to improve the lives of others and propel agriculture into a new frontier.

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NUTRIENT-DENSE CORN. Loran Steinlage scoops up a handful of the Jimmy Red corn he sells to Jonathan Correa, a Madison, Wis., tortilla maker. “It’s about building the group around you and starting to look for younger people,” Steinlage says. “Let’s figure out how we can help them. If the guy wants to give it a try, give

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Michaela paukner

Michaela Paukner

Michaela Paukner is the managing editor of No-Till Farmer, Strip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. Her previous journalism experience includes working as a reporter for a legal magazine and as a producer for two Wisconsin TV news stations. She has also worked with clients across the globe as a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and as a brand manager for a Wisconsin-based boutique marketing agency. She's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

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