Kevin grows corn and soybeans near Manchester.
What are you doing to practice and promote soil and water quality?
In the last 10-12 years, I have implemented a cover-crop program that I use on every acre now. I also implemented stale seedbed planting. You have to work it in a little bit, so we do a very light hit with a vertical till to get the rye seeded in that, but my conservation is basically no-till and cover crops on every acre.
What needs for soil health and water quality do you see in your region/county?
I think the no-till cover-crop practices will work in any situation. If you change your methods and go to a cover-crop no-till, it takes about three to five years, and then your fields will start absorbing the rain that we get and storing that moisture when we need it later in the season. I've turned all my fields into sponges instead of funnels. You have to have a need, a want or a desire to change and do something better.
What could be done with more public funding for soil and water quality?
Cover-crop and no-till practices help your potential for good yields. Delaware County already has a program that will subsidize a cover-crop application and seed costs up to 160 acres and I participate in that. Then on crop insurance, if you provide the information to your crop insurance agent, you can get a $5 rebate on your crop insurance. I think that is the way to be going with this. I would like to see a larger crop-insurance-type rebate because everybody's taking out crop insurance and that's for all the acres, and there's no limit to it.