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No-tilling itself was still an innovation when Bill Richards got in on the ground floor of the movement, and today he stands as one of the major influencers who helped prove no-till is a viable, profitable farm practice.

Richards started no-tilling more than 50 years ago, contacting local Extension agents from Ohio State University for information gained through their no-till experiment. Richards stayed at it for the long haul, modifying his own no-till equipment. In fact, many of his designs were similar to those represented by some of today’s major manufacturers.

Richards was instrumental in establishing the residue management campaign in his county, and he was dubbed the “Grandfather of No-Till” during his term as chief of the Soil Conservation Service, now known on his farm, the early innovators that helped him along as the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Richards has since retired and turned control of the family’s 3,200-acre farm over to his sons. But he continues to promote the benefits no-till practices in his travels in Ohio and beyond.

For this episode of the No-Till Farmer podcast, we sat down with Richards to talk about the storied history of no-till adoption and some of the equipment modifications he made that helped him successfully no-till corn and soybeans.

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