Peer-to-peer conversations about soil health

Ohio Farm Bureau State Board Trustee and first-generation farmer Nathan Brown of Hillsboro knows a thing or two about trying new things.

Expenses associated with manpower and equipment prompted the first-time farmer to try a no-till approach to planting in the early 2000s. No-till is a farming practice that disrupts soil less, which helps the land retain its organic matter and nutrients while increasing water infiltration into the ground and decreasing runoff.

Since finding success in that practice and others he’s tried, including being a strong proponent of cover crops, Brown was awarded the Ohio No-Till Council’s 2018 Outstanding No-Till Farmer award. He is actively asking for more farmers to tell the stories of their own conservation practices.

Q: Why did you create the Ohio Soil Health and Cover Crops Facebook group in March?

A: Several states had a platform where farmers could share what conservation practices they have in place for soil health and water quality and Ohio didn’t. The group is another way to have a farmer-to-farmer conversation.

Q: Water quality is a top priority for Farm Bureau and Ohio’s farmers. Can you explain why clean water starts with soil health and why it is so important?

A: I am a father. I would do anything and everything to protect my kids, and I am a father to the land. It’s what sustains our family and I’ll do everything I can to keep soil healthy and water pure. There are many ways to measure our effects on soil health.

Brown encourages farmers to join the group.

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Cutline: Nathan Brown