Mike Lessiter

Mike Lessiter

A second-generation ag journalist, Mike Lessiter joined the family business in 2003 after 12 years in Chicago as editor/publisher of several manufacturing titles. He has been Editor/Publisher of Farm Equipment since its acquisition in 2004, and has served in several capacities with the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Assn. and Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers. In 2007, he was named president of Lessiter Publications Inc. (now Lessiter Media Inc.). Contact: mlessiter@lessitermedia.com

ARTICLES

John E. Franz of Monsanto

John E. Franz & the Glyphosate Discovery

With no prior cropping knowledge, John Franz was an unlikely candidate to permanently change agriculture’s fortunes in 1970 – when all other Monsanto chemists wanted no part of a dying research project.
With virtually no prior cropping knowledge, John Franz was an unlikely candidate to permanently change agriculture’s fortunes in 1970 -- when all other Monsanto chemists wanted no part of a dying research project.
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Herbicide History, Part II: No-Till Rallies on Roundup

No-till’s greatest growth came with the discovery of glyphosate as a weedkiller, and growers started to ‘park the plow.’
Glyphosate (or Roundup) brought to market by Monsanto in the mid 1970s and now owned by Bayer) is a virtually ideal herbicide, says international weed authority Dr. Stephen Powles and a “once in 100-years breakthrough.”
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No-Till’s Herbicide History, Part I

No-till was a ‘no-go’ until modern weed-control chemicals arrived on the scene.
When No-Till Farmer (NTF) got its start in 1972, its pages were filled with tips on how to make herbicides like paraquat, atrazine, 2,4-D, Princep and Banvel (an early dicamba formulation) work in no-till systems. In Part 1 of this series, we’ll look at the most important early herbicides for no-tillers.
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North Carolina Shares in No-Till History, Too

Kentucky isn’t the only state to mark a no-till first. North Carolina claims one of its own farmers also put their no-till crop in during 1962.

The no-till history research this year -- celebrating 60 years of the commercial practice -- turned up several new discoveries. Last fall, we came across what some believe to be the first no-till planter. We were aware of the unit, but its name had escaped us in other coverage, a reference was found on an industry message board that led to a No-Till Farmer report on the McCormick Till Planter.



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‘Outsiders’ in D.C. Moved No-Till Forward

Two no-tillers ­— Peter Myers and Bill Richards — brought credibility and trust to Washington, D.C., as they charted a transition for U.S. farmers.

The still “coming of age” no-till practice received two significant shots in the arm when no-tillers were tapped for influential posts in D.C. Instead of bureaucrats, the USDA smartly veered from the norm to appoint two practical farmers, Missouri’s Peter Myers and Ohio’s Bill Richards, to help convince farmers of the merits of reducing tillage.


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No-Till Farmer’s ‘History of No-Tillage’ Museum

Attendees at the 30th Annual National No-Tillage Conference in Louisville experienced an all-new ‘walking tour’ of no-tillage history.

In 2021, No-Till Farmer editors began planning the “Triple Crown” of no-till milestones that were aligning in 2022. That is, 60 years since the first commercial no-till plots in Kentucky, 50 years since the launch of No-Till Farmer and 30 years of the National No-Tillage Conference, to be held back in no-till’s ol’ Kentucky home.


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