Lucas Criswell from Eastern Pennsylvania some years ago at a field day I was presenting near Hagerstown, Maryland. Here he is being recognized as someone to follow.
"CEDAR FALLS — Farmers started the soil health movement that Ray Archuleta, a conservation agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Greensboro, N.C., sees as the solution to energy, climate, air and water quality and human health issues.
"Farmers are learning to farm in nature's image, and they are healing the land," said Archuleta during a recent workshop at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He also gave the Shivvers Lecture at Iowa State University.
"No more diapers, no more bandaids," said Archuleta, who is known as the "Soil Guy." "The only way to heal the land is through understanding."
Archuleta said desperation led him to question if there wasn't a better way. He worked for the NRCS in Oregon, lived in Idaho and drove across the Snake River to work. He noticed that when farmers turned on the irrigation water every summer "that beautiful emerald river turned to chocolate."
"We were putting millions of dollars into conservation, and that river was still chocolate, and that bothered me, but what resonated even more was that I had a hard-working, frugal friend who farmed 600 acres of prime Idaho land, and he couldn't make it and bring his son into the operation."
When Archuleta started working on the NRCS Soil Health and Sustainability Team, he began to understand the problem. He wasn't taught the things he since has learned about soil health, and neither were most people who studied soils at universities.
Lucas Criswell no-tilled corn into standing cereal rye on his steep Pennsylvania farm ground and grew 170-bushel corn. North Carolina farmers are growing no-till cotton, tomatoes and potatoes with cover crops. Kansas rancher Michael Thompson grew 58 bushel corn on 7 inches of total rainfall using no-till with cover crops."
We really need to think outside the box for maximum profit from maximum soil health.
Lucas is doing that.