For many no-tillers, late December is not only a time to spend holiday cheer with family and friends, but also a time to reflect on how operations went on the farm this year. Hopefully most of you got your winter crops no-tilled and you’re thinking about what lies ahead for 2020.

These decisions will be especially important for Dryland No-Tiller readers in the eastern Dakotas who went through historic flooding this year. North and South Dakota and Texas alone filed more than $1.5 million in prevent-planting claims this year. Drought is now building in southern Texas and western Oklahoma and Kansas.

Building a no-till operation that is both resilient and profitable ought to be the major goal for no-tillers in the Great Plains, but that his difficult to do without the help of healthy soils, cover crops and diverse rotations. For many of you who are no-tilling already, making the next jump to regenerative agriculture, with more intensive rotations, livestock and elimination of tillage, is the next step.

That’s why I hope you’ll consider checking out what the National No-Tillage Conference has to offer next month. There is a place for you at the table at NNTC, as you’ll see with some of the Plains-oriented speakers we’ve lined up that are highlighted below.

  • Paul Overby, a long-time no-tiller from North Dakota, will be sharing his journey to implementing regenerative ag practices on his farm.
  • Jason Miller, a conservation agronomist for the NRCS in South Dakota, will share some useful tips for getting cover crops established in colder northern climates.
  • New Mexico State University molecular biologist David Johnson will share results of greenhouse and field research that helped him devise the Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management (BEAM) system which promotes regenerative practices to help no-tillers further ratchet up soil health indicators and improve crop yields and profitability.
  • Mike Bredeson, a researcher for the South Dakota-based Ecdysis Foundation, will share some of the only data available nationally on how interseeding cover crops helps build communities of beneficial insects and how it can help pest control.
  • In an exclusive workshop (space is filling up fast!), retired NRCS educator Jim Hoorman, owner of Hoorman Soil Health Services will introduce metarhizium fungi and define its role as a soil health parasite to over 200 insect species and recycler of soil nitrogen. Hoorman will also report on what mycorrhizae species are present in the soil and which ones are needed to improve agricultural production.
  • If you’re a no-tiller who might be grappling with a lot of acres to manage, prominent ag consultant and entrepreneur Robert Saik of Alberta will be detailing the promise of improved efficiency that could come about from recent developments in autonomous agriculture.

NNTC will be held Jan. 7-10, 2020 in St. Louis at the Union Station Hotel, which is a beautiful and historic property. Our staff has worked very hard on this program. To listen to a Q&A session I hosted and learn more, click here. The on-site rate kicks in after Dec. 31, so there isn’t much time left.

Meanwhile, here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and prosperity for 2020!