EYOTA, Minn. – We’ve been following it all week – it’s environmental education week.
We traveled to Eyota to speak with Kevin Uthke, a no-till farmer, to learn a bit more about the environmental impacts of this way of farming.
No-till farming is a process that leaves residue and soil from the previous year behind so as not to disturb the remaining soil. This keeps the carbon generated by tillage in the soil and out of the atmosphere.
Uthke is a fourth generation farmer. And while it may be difficult to change the way agriculture has been done for decades, the impacts are being felt.
“Driving in the pickup with my grandfather, he thinks back to the 70s, and [he’ll say that things didn’t look like that]”, Uthke said. “There are places where feet of dirt have gone over the course of 50 years, 60 years. It is definitely something that should be retained. And that gave us a boost because we were seeing it more.”
No-till agriculture helps conserve soil. Uthke said his father had always been a conservation-minded guy – and no-till farming keeps that mission alive.
“You drive, you see a lot of soil erosion, there’s a lot to do on the soil conservation side. Keeping carbon out of the atmosphere, because when you plow, you release carbon from the soil. It there’s a lot of promise. I think that’s a very good thing, personally,” Uthke said.
Uthke said preferred farming methods really come down to what works best for the farmer. He has been using no-till farming for about eight years and said that through this method he has seen more crops and more soil stay in place with less soil erosion.