The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) inducted editor, publisher and conservation agriculture advocate Frank Lessiter into its CTIC Hall of Fame during the 16th Annual CTIC Conservation in Action Tour July 11, 2023, in Frankenmuth, Mich.
CTIC is a hub for information and ideas that advance and promote conservation agriculture systems that help people along the agricultural supply chain achieve their economic and environmental sustainability goals.
Hall of Fame
Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer for 51 years, since the publication was launched in 1972. He and his wife, Pam, acquired No-Till Farmer and established Lessiter Media in Brookfield, Wis., to acquire the magazine in 1981. Today, the 40-person company also publishes Strip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies, and has run the National No-Tillage Conference since 1993.
The Conservation in Action tour is a homecoming for Lessiter, who was raised on a 6-generation Michigan Centennial Farm in Lake Orion, Mich., which he and his son Mike visited the week of the award ceremony. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.
Lessiter's contributions to conservation ag’s adoption are profound. He and his publications were instrumental in disseminating the practical farmer-to-farmer knowledge necessary for no-till to grow 33-fold to the 110 million acres today in the U.S. alone.
Founding CTIC Member
Frank Lessiter was a part of CTIC from the very beginning. He was one of 30 influencers in conservation tillage were invited to a meeting at the Chicago Marriott in October 1981. Lessiter, who had acquired No-Till Farmer just 7 months earlier, and at the onset of one of the worst ag recessions ever, made sure he was 1 of 11 who made it to Chicago to help guide the launch of an organization to spread the word on the fledgling no-till practice. Those discussions and research led to what would become CTIC, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2022.
According to his son and business partner, Mike, Lessiter has credited the CTIC events and networking as keys to his reporting on successes of farmers making it happen — and to call out the landmines that farmers encountered as they struggled through the learning curve of a truly revolutionary way of farming.
“Frank Lessiter’s contributions to conservation agriculture and CTIC are monumental,” said CTIC Executive Director Ryan Heiniger at the Hall of Fame induction. “He exemplifies CTIC’s legacy, and we all see the results of his relentless dedication and leadership to move conservation agriculture forward. We are honored to induct him into the CTIC Hall of Fame.”
Lessiter joins CTIC founder Dick Foell of Syngenta, NRCS and CTIC technical advisor Dan Towery, and former CTIC executive director Karen Scanlon in the organization's Hall of Fame.
During the Hall of Fame award ceremony, CTIC also announced the location of their next Conservation in Action Tour, which will be held in Arkansas June 10-11, 2024. For more information on CTIC, visit ctic.org.