Attendance at no-till meetings jumped and interest increased as soil and water conservation districts returned to hosting no-till field days and no-till informational meetings during the winter over the past three to four years. While some of it was driven by interest and by coming-of-age of the technology, conservation tillage got a big boost from the Conservation Tillage Initiative. It was formed earlier this decade to help do just what it did, reignite and interest in no-till and conservation farming. The intent was to provide farmers with how-to information, not just rah-rah cheerleading.
The man who single-handedly converted many farmers and got the attention of many more was Barry Fisher. Assigned to this job full-time for a couple years, he's now with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, but he's still a sought-after speaker at no-till events. Fisher makes the connection easy for farmers because he talks a lingo they understand- quickly getting down to brass tacks, including how to set their planter to get better stands and which knives work the best for injecting liquid nitrogen in no-till cropping conditions.
Feeling it's time to stir up the excitement again, the conservation partners in Indiana have joined together to create a full-time position for someone to help carry on the informational mission of educating more farmers about how to implement conservation measures on their farm. They've also coined a new phrase for the effort, the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative, of CCSI. Organizers say they help it builds on the momentum created by ICTI, which will blend into the new group, assuming current plans are carried out.
The partnership includes major conservation groups. Spearheading the effort is the Indiana Association of soil and water conservation districts. The search is actually for a full-time technical coordinator and a part-time program director, notes Jennifer Boyle, executive director of IASWCD. Her office is located in the Indiana Farm Bureau state office building in Indianapolis.
Interested persons have until May 15 to apply. If you're that person who thinks you could fill these shoes, visit www.iaswcd.org for more details, including how to submit an application.
If you're not that person, but a farmer hoping to gain knowledge from such a person, you can look forward to July 1. That's the expected starting date for these positions.
Boyle believes it's a positive step forward, and a chance to build on the success Fisher and ICTI supporters built over the last several years.