No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship


To mark the start of No-Till Farmer's second 50 years, the editors launched an annual Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship in 2022 to mark the start of its next 50 years. This novel program follows a selected no-till farmer throughout the year, and shares (via all print and digital channels) the real-time decision-making and solutions needed to make no-till and conservation ag practices work in real-world conditions.

Jim Leverich, a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis., was selected by No-Till Farmer editors as the inaugural 2022 Conservation Ag Fellow. His 1,000-acre farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his prior contributions at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the 2006 No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category).

The content series examines a variety of year-long subjects, including cropping decisions, attachment/equipment purchases, test plots, seeding/planting conditions and on-the-go decisions in response to weather and other variables. The series also features a unique “Ask the Operator” forum in which subscribers may ask Leverich for advice and/or questions about the no-till results he’s seen on his own farm. The capstone of the project includes a final report on performance and results (including soil, yield and cost data) and a featured presentation at the 31st Annual National No-Tillage Conference in 2023.



On-Farm Testing Unlocks No-Till Success

Longtime no-tiller and retired Wisconsin Extension agent Jim Leverich — the inaugural No-Till Farmer Operator Fellow — encourages farmers to gather and utilize data from their own experience and operations for useful and practicable insights.

As a former extension educator, Leverich is accustomed to keeping good records of practices and having others pick his brain about all the nuances of no-till, making him an excellent candidate for our inaugural Conservation Ag Fellow. He is an advocate for integrating data and precision ag into farming practices and believes on-farm testing is critical to achieving no-till success.

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