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As a family farm manager and longtime participant in farm policy development, Dick Wittman has mixed emotions about how the new farm bill will influence the behavior of no-tillers.
Here are some observations from the Lapwai, Idaho, diversified no-tiller who also provides private consulting services and seminars on a part-time basis for family farm businesses.
Wittman says the increased funding for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and other conservation programs should provide a financial incentive to encourage producers to accelerate the transition to direct seeding and no-tilling. These funds can be justified to offset risks in making the transition and help with the financial costs of making equipment changes.
He maintains the jury is still out on two critical issues:
Wittman says some local conservation districts have board members who don’t share your enthusiasm for direct seeding and no-tilling.
“They either don’t think it will work, or they perceive the practice as a competitive threat,” he says. “They see neighbors doing it and don’t want to change. Or, they fear that providing incentives to those already no-tilling or wanting…