Ryan Speer – No-Till Conference

(Ryan) This is Ryan Speer, President of No Till on the Plains and this is the 19th Annual Winter Conference. Every year we usually come up with a certain theme where we want the conference to be headed. Some years it’s maybe emphasis on equipment or soil health. This year fairly heavily into grazing livestock and in conjunction with no till and cover crops and how all those synergize together. So, there’s usually a theme that kind of angles you towards certain speakers and always No Till on the Plains has a wide group of contacts and board members where we can reach out to speakers that fit whatever goals that we have for the year. No Till on the Plains started fairly small and has grown over the years. We’ve kind of got our normal group that we deal with. We do bus tours in the summer where farmers can actually go to other people’s farms and learn, actually see what they’re doing in the fields. And so that’s a big part of what we do. We try to do summer tours. We call them whirl winds, maybe a one day event at a location with whatever theme we’re doing, different practices, different states. One thing No Till on the Plains has gotten much broader. We’re doing tours into Oklahoma and we’ve always went to the Dakotas. In the future we’ll probably branch up into Ohio and those kinds of areas for summer tours. We always have a strongest membership in the Kansas area, say 65 to 70 percent of people that come to the conference are from Kansas. We have a pretty good following in Nebraska and the Dakotas. It seems to be really picking up in Oklahoma and Texas. No tills a little, I wouldn’t say new there, but newer, not as many acres in those areas. And then we usually have, not a lot, but we’ll have, I know there’s a few people here from New York state, Australia. We do… we don’t have a lot but we do have an international draw usually. For me personally, I have a passion for soil health and improving the soil and I’ve seen the benefits. And a lot of it we’ve done on our own, but a tremendous amount of the stuff we’ve done has been learned at this conference. You know just speaking to other producers that are doing it, instead of stumbling it through yourself. It just saves so much time and energy. And it’s… there’s so much more that we know, than we did 15 years ago. The process can be sped up much faster through the use of cover crops and some different things to where your soil structure can start changing. Instead of the old thing was it took three to five years before you could make any significant changes. Now I’d say you can do it in two. It takes much more education, a much higher level of management but it can be done. And that’s one thing that the no till is, is
much higher level of management than conventional farming practices.

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