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Name: john D. Derham
Location: faribault. minn
Number Of Years No-Tilling: 18
Acres: 420 (down from 2.000 acres a few years ago)
No-Tilled Crops: Corn, and soybeans
The whole world changed for me 18 years ago. Thanks — or no thanks — to big farming and a bad economy, I lost nearly everything I owned — a 4,000-acre operation including land, equipment, 500 beef cows, trucks, cars, personal tools and anything else that the bankers could find in the sheds to auction off.
What I didn’t lose was my desire to farm, nor my enthusiasm for work. What I had to learn was a new way to farm, and no-tilling provided the answer.
Now I’m 70 years old and think I have quite a story to tell about my Faribault, Minn., farming operation. Back in 1986, I still had contracts on rented land and the insurance company that held title to the land after the foreclosure agreed to rent it back to me. They were skeptical about how I was going put in a crop with no big equipment and even more skeptical when I answered that I was “just going to plant it.” No one believed me, but no-till worked and it put me back in business.
Fortunately, amidst all the downsides of losing my farm, I had been blessed with a stroke of luck. When I was foreclosed, I had nearly 200,000 bushels of corn held with a 9-month loan in…