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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: Continuing a No-Till Legacy

Red Oak, Iowa, grower Jason McCunn is picking up the no-till tradition that his grandfather helped pioneer in their area.

By Jason McCunn As interviewed by Martha Mintz

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NAME: Jason McCunn

LOCATION: Red Oak, Iowa

YEARS NO-TILLING: 8

ACRES: 300

CROPS: Corn, Soybeans

No-till, to one degree or another, is the standard practice in our area. It’s really all I’ve ever known. That’s how my grandpa farmed, and how my father farmed. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve been able to move back to the farm with my wife and children and work the land full time.

My life hasn’t progressed exactly like that of other farm kids, though it started much the same. My great grandfather bought the land we farm today in the rolling hills of Montgomery County in southwestern Iowa. My grandfather was one of 13 children and took over the farm with his brother when my great grandfather passed unexpectedly at the age of 51.

My grandfather had four kids, including my father, who eventually took over the farm with my uncle. They farmed together through the early 1990s. Here is where my story takes a different path.

For a variety of reasons, my father and uncle got out of farming. They rented the family ground to the neighbors and took jobs in town. I graduated from high school, joined the Air Force, met my wife and lived off the farm for many years. In 2007, my wife and I made the decision to come back to the family farm and be the first McCunns to work the land in 15 years.

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