We were honored to attend the “No-till on the Plains” 22nd Annual Winter Conference, January 30 – 31, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. No-till on the Plains, Inc. is a non-profit educational group that works to educate farmers and others on the benefits of continuous no-till farming, plus all that goes into creating a profitable and regenerative farming operation. The emphasis of this year’s conference was soil health, systems agriculture, and management strategies, with a no-till foundation.
The presenters and speakers were phenomenal and included no-till producers, soil scientists, researchers, agronomists, and other leaders in the field of regenerative agriculture. One of the highlights of the conference was keynote speaker, Allan Savory, founder and president of the Savory Institute, South Africa. Savory discovered the cause of the degradation and desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems. He has worked for over 50 years to develop a sustainable solution that involves using livestock in a structured system of planned grazing that mimics the behavior of the formerly vast herds of wild grazing animals.
We learned the importance of incorporating no-till planting with cover crops, diverse crop rotations, and animal impact (grazing) for a systems approach to promote soil health. Presenters emphasized the importance of soil health based on soil microbiology, nutrient cycling, and soil aggregation. Healthy soils produce healthy food, healthy people and a healthy planet. For the producer, healthy soils result in reduced input costs for more profits. There are multiple ways to implement regenerative farming practices as we heard from presenters from across the United States and France.