What I've Learned From No-Tilling: Develop Market Strategies Around Successful No-Tilling

With small fields, rocks, hills and many crops, this Maine grower cashes in on the many benefits of no-tilling

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Name: Andrew W. Williamson IV

Location: Jefferson, Maine (owns and operates county fair farm

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 16

Acres: 250

No-Tilled Crops: Pumpkins, Sweet Corn, Corn, Soybeans, Squash, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Cabbage, Gourds

When I studied pomology at Cornell University in the early 1980s, I didn’t envision that my future business success would hinge on growing pumpkins, squash and sweet corn.

And I certainly would not have believed I would be successfully growing these and other vegetables with a continuous no-till system in Maine’s rocky, forest soils.

Being a first-generation farmer was probably an advantage when it came to adopting no-till. My parents were both school teachers, so I didn’t face family tradition when I decided to try a new method of farming. I’d gained some production experience raising sweet corn for college money and I also managed a small orchard before going into farming full time.

In 1991, my wife Susanne and I bought the 64-acre County Fair Farm, the site of the original Lincoln County Fair more than a century ago. We’ve since expanded to 250 acres and market numerous vegetable crops both to wholesale and retail buyers.

I first no-tilled pumpkins in 1989 after hearing Dale Riggs, a New York area extension specialist, talk about the potential benefits. I had really good success that first year – but it took nearly 6 years after that to come up with a no-till system that is nearly trouble-free. I first designed a 2-row strip-till cart…

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Ron Ross

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