The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers' Association recently honored Kevin Larson of Willow City, N.D., with the U.S. Zero Till Farmer of the Year award.

Larson started no-tilling 30 years ago, has served on the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers' Association board for six years and last year introduced the New Zealand Cross Slot seeding system to the region.

Roger Ashley, a North Dakota State University Extension area cropping systems specialist, Dickinson, received the associations U.S. Zero Till Non-Farmer of the Year award.

He was recognized for his advisory role to the association's board, as well as leadership on the association's program and third manual committees during the last four years.

His efforts have resulted in well-attended, dynamic workshops and a publication titled "Beyond the Beginning," which was released in February 2011. The publication is in its second printing of 10,000 copies.

This publication, although primarily aimed at producers interested in no-till cropping systems, has information on managing soil health, crop rotations, cover crops and other cropping system issues useful to producers not involved in zero-till cropping, according to Ashley.

"It is gratifying to see the appreciation from people you work with, especially when it is really a group effort rather than an individual," he says about his award. "Many of the concepts of sustainability, profitability and environmental responsibility are embodied by conservation agriculture or well-practiced no-till cropping systems, and it's not work when you can meet all of these goals in production agriculture."

Ashley has served as Extension's cropping systems specialist for southwestern North Dakota since January 1997. His work focuses on root pathogen control, specialty crops and water management.