If you've never been to the National No-Tillage Conference and you'd like an idea of what it's all about, read our lead article today on Bismarck, N.D., no-tiller Gabe Brown.

 I got to meet Brown for the first time earlier this month at a cover-crop meeting in Decatur, Ill. As our keynote speaker at next month's 20th-anniversary event in St. Louis, Brown certainly will not disappoint, as I saw firsthand.

While he's not your traditional Midwestern corn-and-soybean grower, he is raising corn, soybeans, specialty crops and numerous cover crops in an area that would seemingly be a desert to the Corn Belt farmer. He only sees about 15 inches of moisture on average each year.

It was near failure that drove Brown into no-till. But he didn't just stop at no-till to succeed; he got deep into what makes farmland thrive with cover crops, livestock and a diverse biological system.

While he came close to bankruptcy in the 1990s, Brown today isn't afraid of failure. In fact, his entrepreneurial spirit is what embodies the no-till movement.

"We want to fail at something on this farm every year," he told contributing editor Martha Mintz several years ago. "If I don't fail at something, I'm not trying enough new things."

 So, what you can expect to get from the National No-Tillage Conference are a whole lot of ideas to put to use on your farm. And as Brown would say, you shouldn't be afraid to fail with some of them. After all, you will succeed with some of them, too.