Chip Bowling

What I've Learned From No-Tilling: No-Till, Cover Crops and Careful Nutrient Management Benefit Farm and Watershed Alike

Decades of conservation practices have helped Chip Bowling be a more successful and environmentally sensitive farmer.


Pictured Above: WATER WATCH. Chip Bowling is surrounded by water in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. His family has long used no-till, cover crops, buffer strips and nutrient management plans to keep soils and nutrients in place

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NAME: Chip Bowling

LOCATION: Newburg, Md.

YEARS NO-TILLING: 30

ACRES: 1,600

CROPS: Corn, soybeans and wheat

I LOOK AT water every day from my fields. I farm right on the Maryland-Virginia border. The only thing separating me from Virginia is the Potomac river. This puts my farm right in the heart of the Chesapeake and Zekiah watersheds. We’re also on the Wicomico River, which is 11 miles long and seeps into the Potomac river. All of the water from our farm ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. 

What does that mean for us? Well, a lot of regulation when it comes to how we farm. It was a hassle at first — and people cringe when I say this — but I think the regulations have possibly made us better nutrient managers. We’re more aware of our fertilizer use and how it’s working for us. I’m also more environmentally sensitive.

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(l-r) Charles and Betty Bowling, Chip Bowling and employee Bill Higgs.

Long before our nutrient and fertility use was mandated, my family was already making strides in conservation. Going way back, my family has actively been using cover crops since the 1940s. We seeded them on every tobacco acre we had as tobacco was a heavily tilled crop…

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Martha Mintz

Contributing Editor

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