Anyone who spends any time on this Website or reading Indiana Prairie Farmer knows the name of Barry Fisher. He is a no-till advocate, and has been for three decades, dating back to his days as district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Putnam County. He was the driving force behind field days that drew in farmers to learn about no-till when it was still more of an unknown practice.
Today, Fisher, still with NRCS on the state level, travels Indiana working with the Conservation Cropping System Initiative, giving talks and conducting hands-on planter clinics. The reason he has helped so many farmers become successful and draws their respect is because from the beginning, he has focused on the mechanics – the nitty -gritty details – of making no-till work.
Today, he's broadened that message to making cover corps work as well. Farmers like Mike Starkey, Brownsburg, invite him to come to their field days because they know he will "tell it like it is," including the good, the bad and the ugly. If something isn't working, he will help dedicated no-tillers how to solve the issue.
Fisher was instrumental in finding a solution in the spring of 2013 when many first-time no-tillers who had planted cover crops for the first time in the fall of 2012 were running into problems getting seed at a consistent depth planting into cover corps. In almost every case, they had burned down the cover crop about a week before planting, and the rope-like dying cover crop, in a wet spring, was hairpinning but not cutting cleanly when the lead no-till coulter passed through it.
The solution in many cases was taking the coulter off, Fisher has told many audiences. Many farmers from that experience have learned that coulters aren't needed in every situation in no-till. It was also a helpful lesson in teaching folks that planting into the live cover and then burning it down is another option.
Fisher was recognized for his decades of work at the recent Indiana Certified Crops Advisers Conference. More than 700 CCAs attended. Fisher was selected as the outstanding CCA of the year.