CHAMPAIGN – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Illinois farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields and improve soil health during No-Till November.
First launched in 2017, the NRCS project is mirrored after the national cancer awareness No Shave November campaign that encourages people not to shave during the entire month. The NRCS campaign encourages farmers to keep tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall and keep the crop stubble on their fields. The campaign has reached more than 1.5 million people through Twitter and local media since 2017.
“No-till farming is a cornerstone soil health conservation practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money,” said Ivan Dozier, Illinois NRCS State Conservationist. “One of the first soil health principles is ‘do not disturb.’ This campaign is a fun way to remind farmers about the important relationship between tillage and soil health.”
Improving soil health increases soil biological activity, which provides erosion control, nutrient benefits, and can simulate tillage. Just take it from Champaign County no-till farmer and former President of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts Steve Stierwalt, “We’ve got a lot of great conservation farmers in Illinois who are using no-till and working with cover crops and I am so thankful for all they’re doing to impact our natural resources. Truth is, we need more farmers to embrace these new and profitable ways of production agriculture. They work for me and they’ll work for you too.”
Join Ivan, Steve, and so many others who are making a difference by keeping the stubble on the ground this winter. “Keep your fields covered. Your soil—and all those earthworms–will thank you next spring,” Dozier adds.