For four days in early January, the focus of two very different worlds, both buzzing about the prospects of a more prosperous future, centered on the Marriott Hotel in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.
In the hotel’s spacious lobby, CNN newscasters and cameramen set up shop every evening for broadcasts about the promises and potential of the Democratic presidential candidates who were stumping across the state in the days just prior to the Iowa caucuses.
Meantime, up on the second and third floors, nearly 700 farmers gathered for the National No-Tillage Conference discussed the latest news in no-tilling and the promise of higher yields, greater efficiency, more profits and long-term conservation of their valuable lands.
When the hubbub ended, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts left Iowa with a win in the caucuses, though his ultimate results remain to be seen. On the other hand, the no-tillers went home certain that they are on the road to success, judging by their eagerness to implement the ideas they picked up during the event sponsored by No-Till Farmer.
Proving that the NNTC is much more than a regional conference, the no-tillers descended on Des Moines from 27 states, from Washington and Oregon to Maine and New York, from Texas and Louisiana to Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Every region of the country was represented, as were Canada and England.
Showing their excitement for the event, the attendees, including 200 “walk-ins” who registered on site, arrived full of energy. And early, too. The…