(Editor’s Note: If you have a recollection of how Mark Watson helped you improve your no-till system, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I’ve been writing the “No-Till Notes” for quite some time now. It’s been long enough that I don’t really remember when I started or how many I’ve written. I’m sure some of my readers probably feel like it’s been a long time as well.
I’ve really enjoyed my experiences as a no-till educator over the past several years. I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting many producers, researchers, agri-businessmen and women, and NRCS and NRD staff members during this time. Many of these acquaintances have become friends.
My brothers and I started down the no-till path when we had our first meeting with Dwayne Beck back in the early 1990s. We had already made a few fumbling attempts at our version of no-till crop production but didn’t really understand proper no-till systems until Dwayne was kind enough to spend his valuable time with us.
We owe Dwayne a heartfelt thank you for all the valuable information he has provided us over the past three decades.
I also want to thank Paul Jasa, ag engineer for University of Nebraska Extension, for giving me the opportunities to become part of an educational team promoting no-till around the region. Paul opened up a wealth of knowledge for me by putting me in the position to speak at numerous events over the years.
I learned more listening to other speakers and producers at these events than any knowledge I may have shared with these audiences.
Ray Ward from Ward Labs also took me under his wing and expanded my understanding of the soil. Ray shared his wealth of knowledge with me concerning the dynamic properties of the soil, and taught me the importance of building a healthy soil in which to grow my plants.
The soil is a living and breathing resource and we need to do all we can to improve the physical and biological properties of the soil to grow healthier plants.
I want to thank our local NRCS and NRD offices for their continuing support of no-till crop production. These individuals see the opportunities continuous no-till crop production can provide in protecting and improving our soil and conserving our water resources.
I also want to thank the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Nebraska No-till Cadre for providing financial support for no-till education across our state. I’m grateful for their support of my efforts in bringing no-till education to our end of the state.
I also want to thank all the local newspapers and publishers across the state who ran my articles, as well as the Nebraska Agri-Business Assn. for recognizing me as the Media Person of the Year in 2014. I’m not sure how a farmer receives a media award, but it is always special to be recognized for your work.
I especially want to thank the readers of my articles. I am always surprised at how many people in our region are interested in agriculture that don’t farm or ranch, but realize how important agriculture is to our communities. I hope I have provided some insight and inspiration when it comes to crop production in our region.
We have many challenges in production agriculture in our semi-arid environment. I think continuous no-till crop production can help manage many of these challenges. Continuous no-till allows us to better manage our soil and water resources.
We can improve the health of our soil by leaving the previous crop’s residues attached and on the soil surface. We can adopt forage or cover crops to further the improvement of the soil. We can also conserve our water resources using the benefits of no-till crop production.
Always feel free to contact me to visit about production agriculture in our area or to just say ‘Hi.’ Even though my time as a no-till educator is drawing to a close, I’ll still be actively involved in farming and promoting the benefits of continuous no-till crop production. I’ll look forward to our next visit.