The words “sustainability” and “soil health practices” are becoming more and more common in the ag industry. With weather conditions like we’ve had in recent years, soil erosion is becoming more and more of a serious problem for many Indiana fields.
Greensburg farmer Roger Wenning, named a Master Farmer in 2019, recently spoke at the Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo and on the HAT Soil Health Podcast about how he’s been employing soil health practices since the 70s, they were just never called that until recently, and it’s been making him money.
“I farm some hilly ground and this soil is leaving. And we don’t have very much…I mean, it’s pretty shallow. So, I began just putting some wheat up and down the little valleys. I contoured around my hills about every 50 feet and that’s keeping my soil here. I need that. Then, over time, I started noticing that in those strips, the soil farms different… So, just from there it continued to grow, and it was hard to find somebody to talk to about it though.”
Wenning has now become one of those guys that people come to for advice when strategizing what type of conservation cropping system to put in place.
Fellow Greensburg farmer Kevin Horstman was doing some work on Wenning’s farm when he realized that the soil health practices employed there just simply made sense. He had a hard time convincing other family member in his farming operation (what he called “the wiser generation”) at first, but it has saved them money now as well.
“We are, kind of, running into a little bit of a labor issue at the farm. So, this is a transition we were going to make, and we went from being efficient with six guys down to three planting. That was a big help to show them that. Not to mention now when we’re out digging in our own dirt, they’ve noticed how much easier it is and without really seeing a yield drag. It’s kind of solidified what we’re doing.”
Hear from Wenning, his son Nick, and Horstman on what specific soil health practices they’re carrying out on their farm on the most recent HAT Soil Health Podcast. You can also hear from NRCS Soil Health Specialist Stephanie McLain and CCSI Conservation Agronomist Joe Rorick as we discuss planting green, getting started with cover crops, and the resources available to beginning conservationists.