In Nebraska, Federal Officials Maintain Strip-Till Is Not A Legitimate Funding Option As A Soil Conservation Practice

A few weeks ago, several readers indicated that National Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS) staffers in Nebraska are against funding strip-till projects. Instead, they’re attempting to make pure continuous no-till the favored tillage system.

Promoting no-till is fine, but not to the extent that it takes away one of the options some growers favor for warming up cold soils, producing efficient yields and saving valuable soil.

After contacting officials in the Nebraska NRCS office, we learned the No-Till Farmer readers were right. Here’s what the Nebraska NRCS folks told us regarding strip-till:

“At this time, we do not pay for strip-till. These tools generally disturb too much of the surface (often more than 30% of the row width, which wouldn’t even qualify as strip-till according to our standard) and can cause some additional erosion problems on sloping ground.

“Granted, they are better than mulch-till or conventional till, but we feel that continuous no-till is superior. It should also be noted that we do not allow the use of vertical-tillage equipment in no-till. These tools also tend to disturb too much soil and are considered full-width tillage.”

Despite what’s occurring in Nebraska, other states see plenty of potential for both strip-till and no-till as valuable conservation practices.

And the first thing most no-tillers agree on is that there’s no universal tillage system that is best for all soils, all fields and all growers. Unfortunately, some federal employees apparently haven’t gotten this message.

For instance, among attendees at last winter’s National No-Tillage…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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