I Wish Everyone Who Mistrusts Farmers Could Have Been With Me Today

Kansas Viewpoint

Residue Alliance Tours Fields, Shares Information in an afternoon of understanding the need to protect the land as well as the bottom line

Published on: August 26, 2010
There are a lot of people out there that don't trust farmers to do what is right for the land.

I wish they could have been on the tour bus with me this afternoon as the Residue Alliance of South Central Kansas toured five farms where the commitment to take care of the soil is rock solid.

As the bus took off from South Barber High School's parking lot for the first stop, we drove past a "clean" field and the comments were non-stop: All you need is that sight to make you understand no-till; look at that erosion; look at the mud in the road ditch; look at the gullies in the field.

It rained in Barber County Monday night. Make that POURED in Barber County, to the tune of 5 inches in places. And in places where the plow still rules, the fragile soil paid the price. But not everywhere.

In the no-till fields we toured, four inches of rain on Monday didn't stop the combines from rolling -- without ruts -- on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. And the water in the road ditches, what little there was, was clear.

We saw five farms; one in continuous no-till for 10 years or more, one where initial estimates of the need for soil erosion structures faded year by year of no-till, one where sun hemp and radishes are the tools being used to rebuild topsoil, one where soybeans in  bloom survived the blistering heat of last month to set loads of pods and one where double-crop soybeans are making a comeback from said heat wave.

All of them are testaments to the power of doing the right thing for the soil. And it was delightful to be in the company of people who really, truly do "get it."