It's commind up on 40 years since we produced the first issue of No-Till Farmer. The first issue that went out in November of 1972 featured reduced-tillage innovators who are still no-tilling today.

There have been many changes in both no-till practices, and in this publication over the past 4 decades. Not only are we producing more pages of no-till ideas for you each year, but we’ve added other valuable learning experiences, such as the 19th annual National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati in mid-January.

Looking Back

During 2011, we’ll be taking a look back at what’s happened over the past 40 years in each issue. To kick off this series, we’re running the most requested article in the history of this publication. “Fires Scorch No-Till Profits” appears on page 16 and is commonly requested by readers battling with a crop insurance company over the real value of lost no-till residue due to fire.

In future issues, we’ll continue to look back at hundreds of other gems that have graced the pages of No-Till Farmer over the past 4 decades. Next fall, we’ll be producing a special 40th-anniversary issue of Conservation Tillage Guide that will examine many of the most-important developments in no-till since 1972. We’ll look at how no-till has evolved and take a look at the future. In addition, we’ll report on a few of the not-so-important things that have happened over the years.

Crazy But True

A good case in point goes back to the beginning when the No-Till Farmer logo contained a hyphen.

Allis-Chalmers was the early day leader in promoting no-till, had the original no-till planter in the market and had trademarked the term no-til (with a hyphen and only one “l” in til.) When they objected to our use of the hyphen in no-till, it was easier to drop the hyphen than to gear up for an expensive fight in court. So in April of 1974, we dropped the hyphen in the logo.

In early 1976, the Allis-Chalmers attorneys decided it would help protect their trademark if we were to again use the hyphen in no-till. It’s been that way ever since March of 1976.

There’s more to the hyphen story that old-timers may recall. In the late 1960s, I spent 3½ years editing the Massey-Ferguson Farm Profit magazine that was distributed to 400,000 U.S. farmers.

There was a hyphen between those two famous names at that time, but the Massey Ferguson name no longer includes a hyphen. And folks at AGCO have no idea when the hyphen got dropped.

Been There, Done That

It’s with a great source of satisfaction and pride that I’ve been here for all of these years to watch the no-till acreage grow dramatically. No-till didn’t make up a very large percentage of the crop acreage in 1972, as shown at left.

It’s been great to see the success growers have achieved as no-till has grown from only 3.3 million acres to probably more than 90 million acres in 2011. Just as importantly, the best is yet to come!