With dollars becoming more scarce for investing in structural conservation practices, staffers at Nebraska’s Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District were seeking ways to meet erosion control goals. As a result, they considered cost-sharing cultural practices as a way to get 80 percent of the land meeting “T” erosion requirements by 2010 and 100 percent by 2025.
Daniel Gillespie, a soil conservation technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Battle Creek, Neb., says the Natural Resources District—which covers all of five counties and parts of eight counties in northeast Nebraska—developed a program that would boost no-till acres.
Committee members interviewed bankers, farm managers, extension workers, agronomists, crop consultants and chemical reps. They were asked if a total no-till system was viable, what it would take to get producers to no-till corn and soybeans, what would be required to keep growers no-tilling both crops and who farmers listen to most concerning no-tilling ideas.
The survey indicated a total no-till system was viable and that farmers, agronomists and economists would have the most impact on advising growers. Financial incentives, economic information and education dominated the answers as to what it would really take to get farmers to no-till.
Gillespie used his own experience with 11 years of no-till to show others how rewarding the experience can be. “I am a living example of the time savings and efficiency you can get from no-till,” he says. “I work 3 1/4 days a week with the Natural Resource Conservation Service and…