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Planting Green Into Living Cover Crops Slashes Inputs

Boundless energy and savvy decision making guide the Morgan family’s green farming practices, reducing costs and labor and taming environmental stress.

The sign that hangs on the shop exterior says “Morgan Bros. Farm, est. 1976,” but as is often the case, that sign doesn’t tell the whole story.

Brian and Darrell Morgan are the brothers that established the farm more than four decades ago, working the land part-time and supplementing their incomes with off-farm jobs — Brian worked as an auctioneer for 30 years while Darrell drove a school bus and worked other odd jobs.

But Brian’s sons, Brent and Carter, are now adults and the four of them work the land together. And while the younger generation learned a lot from their elders, especially about planning and thinking head, Brent and Carter are now integral to the daily operations of the farm and they’re pushing an ambitious program of farming green and minimizing inputs.

Outside Influence

Besides the four Morgan men who run the farm, another name crops up repeatedly when talking about the major changes they’ve made over the years — Melvin Nicholson, the consulting agronomist that has worked with the family since 1980.

Darrell Morgan met Nicholson on a mission to Haiti in 1979 and the pair realized that not only did they both work in agriculture, they also lived only about an hour apart.

Nicholson’s focus on soil health got Darrell’s attention and they struck up a business relationship that continues to this day.

Morgan-Farm

MULTIPURPOSE MIX. Pairing cereal rye with hairy vetch is beneficial, says Carter Morgan, in part because without the rye to climb up, the

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Julia Gerlach

Julia Gerlach is managing editor of No-Till Farmer. She has a lengthy background in publishing and a longtime interest in gardening and mycology. She graduated with a B.A. in music and philosophy from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis.

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