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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.