Since we recently wrapped up our 22nd National No-Tillage Conference in mid-January, it’s a good time to reflect on a few items — both serious and not so serious — that have occurred at this annual event over the years.

During this 22-year time span, we’ve attracted 17,264 total attendees. Annual attendance has ranged from 635 to a record crowd of 1,153 attendees last winter in Indianapolis. This year’s 22nd annual event in Springfield, Ill., had 1,024 attendees.

Roaring Start

When we were making plans for the very first event in 1993 in Indianapolis, we thought we might attract 150 no-tillers. Instead, an astounding 814 attendees showed up.

Check The Stats

Looking back, we’ve provided attendees with more than 1,100 hours of non stop no-till learning. We’ve lined up more than 800 growers, educators and suppliers as speakers to provide the very latest information and ideas dealing with successful no-tilling over the last 22 years. Over the years, we’ve had no-tillers from over 20 countries share their no-tilling ideas at this event.

A Few Zany Tales

While continuing education is the sole purpose of the National No-Tillage Conference, there have been a few wild and crazy ideas over the years. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • At the first conference in 1993, a Michigan attendee had never no-tilled in his life. He left the conference so convinced that no-till would work that he auctioned off all of his tillage tools and high-horsepower tractors 8 weeks later and plunged whole-hog into no-till on 1,200 acres. It’s not a situation I’d recommend for a first timer.
  • Two “I do” engagements have occurred during the conference. The first was a couple from Minnesota that got engaged at one of the St. Louis events, and an Australian couple who did the same in Des Moines. The Australian man flew in from his home country and proposed to his girlfriend, who had flown in from her job in London, England.
  • Two marriages have resulted from folks meeting at the event.
  • One year in Indianapolis, an Illinois no-tiller arrived at the hotel, but could not find the event. He had arrived a week early. He headed home, but made the 3-hour trip again the following week.
  • One time in St. Louis, a No-Till Classroom speaker talked for several minutes before advancing the slides in his 35mm Carousel slide tray. He’d turned the projector on earlier, but left a plastic cap on top of the slide tray, and the heat melted all 55 slides.

How About You?

If you’ve got any wild and crazy stories from any of the previous 22 National No-Tillage Conferences, I’d like to have you share them with me. You can e-mail me at By the way: Does anyone remember when a no-tiller brought a parrot to the National No-Tillage Conference?