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Dick Wittman is one smart cookie. Nothing that’s remotely involved with his 11,000-acre operation passes across his desk without his personal, careful examination. And its paid off in a big way.
Working in partnership with three other family members, this Culdesac, Idaho, no-tiller crops 5,500 acres that encompass every kind of soil imaginable, from black silt loam to red gumbo clay. Wittman also battles tricky slopes on his land.
“There’s one flat spot on our land,” Wittman says, “and that’s the kitchen table. Equipment design is a challenge to cater to our slopes. Nothing tracks because gravity is working against you.”
With 6,500 acres in range and timber, the family no-tills the remaining 5,500 acres with wheat, barley, peas, lentils, alfalfa, garbanzo beans, chick peas, canola, grass seed, safflower, flax and buckwheat. As if this weren’t enough, Wittman helped start the Northwest Direct Seed Association earlier this year to help promote the benefits of no-till to growers in the Pacific Northwest.
Wittman is very busy, to say the least. But not too busy to make sure other farmers are making sound financial decisions, especially when it comes to no-till equipment.
“When you’re trying to promote the transition to no-till, you’re talking about major strategic changes,” Wittman explains. “There’s nothing more controversial than one member of your team who wants to change while everyone else is satisfied staying the same. How do you get that team moving together?
“This is an issue that applies as much to the…