50-40-20. Those three numbers have great significance to the No-Till Farmer family.

  • We're marking 50 years of no-till production in the U.S. since farmer Harry Young of Herndon, Ky., first no-tilled corn in 1962.
  • No-Till Farmer is marking its 40th anniversary since editor Frank Lessiter published the very first issue in 1972.
  • And the National No-Tillage Conference turns 20 this January 11 to 14 in St. Louis. In fact, you can download our just-completed 12-page program.

We're putting the finishing touches on a special issue of No-Till Farmer's Conservation Tillage Guide that will drop in the mail at the end of October. In that issue, we return to the Young farm to see how 50 years of continuous no-till have worked for Harry's son, John, and his grandson, Alex — the fifth and sixth generations to farm in southern Kentucky.

We'll also look at the 40 individuals who most influenced no-till in North America, as well as 10 others from around the world who have made a major impact on no-till.

Finally, we examine the no-till operation of Allan Brooks. The Markesan, Wis., no-tiller was featured in the second issue of No-Till Farmer, and he's even more enthusiastic today about no-till than he was 40 years ago.

 While some claim that no-till won't work, 50 years of no-till history says otherwise and is a great encouragement to keep working to make it better.