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What I've Learned from No-Tilling: Securing Stability Through Stacked Enterprises and Stockpiled Carbon

With an eye on a variable future, no-tiller Jesse Hall diversifies his rotations and income streams for lasting success.


Pictured Above: OAT ADVANTAGE. South Dakota State University research and Jesse Hall’s own experience has shown having oats or another small grain, such as Japanese millet, in the rotation results in yield advantages in subsequent crops. Overall profits are also better on a 3-year average compared to less diverse rotations, even when the oat crop just breaks even or loses money. Hall is looking to plant even more acres to oats to hay and graze, creating more income streams for the farm

STABILITY IS THE goal and what drives nearly every decision on our farm. It can come in many forms. I want stability in yields, stability in soil conditions and, ultimately, stability in our farm’s overall economic health. 

Working toward that goal requires a willingness to experiment — something that is not much of a hurdle for our family. My father, Lon, was the head of the oat breeding program at South Dakota State University while also farming until I took over in 2014. I also worked at SDSU as assistant to the state Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program coordinator (30% of my time) and as a research technician (70% of my time).

During my tenure in these roles I had the opportunity to visit many different states to learn about progressive farming practices. Back at SDSU we would run experiments to evaluate those practices for our area. It was one thing to listen and quite another to deploy a practice and carefully observe the progress throughout…

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Martha mintz new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.


Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

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