Thursday, February 10, 2011


The Virginia NoTill Alliance has named theirselves Vantage and are starting new chapters of Vantage across the state of Virginia. Pennsylvania has done this with great success. I wish we had that in Ohio and other states. We are a little proud and arrogant in Ohio sometimes I think and want to be first rather than adopt an idea from another state.

It was truly a privilege for me to speak where my ancestor Heinrich Winkle settled in the 1700's. Some of our best ideas and founding principles have come from the great state of Virginia, which was one of the main destinations from Europe in those days. This really brings American History to life for me.

We got the Future Farmers of America and lots of great ideas from our early settlers in Virginia. I really feel my roots in Virginia and how they spread to Ohio across the mountains. I had forgotten how formidable those mountains are until I purposely and non purposely drove across them this week.

We shared every idea we could think of how to farm better. Farming better means more profit to me but soil health and conservation comes from that too. I wish I had their livestock manure here in Martinsville and they wish they had my more open fields of land. Two good minds are better than one so it is good to help one another as we did.

Planter setups where a major focus of the conference and I threw in soil and tissue testing to balance soil fertility and we talked about how to improve our soil and bottom lines with cover crops.

It occured to me how much has changed in a short period of time as I add one new practice each year and when you look back 10 years, there has been a lot of change in farming and notill especially.

Ten years ago we had less than an inch of snow fall. This year we could break forty inches. The farmers adaptation to these climatic changes dtermines his success or failure. We can't change Mother Nature even if they try to prove we have. We can change how we adapt to change and I think a meeting like this one just helps us figure out what to do next.

One good friend thinks these high markets and small crop carryovers are limiting our customers. They sure are and they always will. Weather and production and market prices have always went up and down and I think they always will.

We keep producing more with less but we see this crunch increasing now. There are more people and no more land and economies which are not as healthy as we would like as we continue to spend and borrow more. We can only borrow so much until we default.

The little farmer can stand this situation more than higher leveraged bigger farmers if he is careful. I don't see how the livestock industry is making it in these times but they seem to continue to. We are rationing grain or food with price in our economy right now. If anyone doesn't think we have inflation, get out your tax returns and records from the last ten years and see how much it has changed.

The smart ones, usually referred to as the lucky ones will survive. NoTill helps me survive and adds to my bottom line as I seek to grow more grain with less in these poor weather, high commodity price years.

Vantage people, you did a great job and thanks once again for the opportunity. My email box is always open like my front door, so just knock and we can talk about how to help each other.

Ed Winkle

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