Soil health practices like no-till and using cover crops were a major discussion point at this year’s Master Farmer event held earlier this month. Soil health is a passion for new Master Farmer Cameron Mills from Walton in Cass County.
“We are blessed to be just temporary tenants of a limited resource which is the soil. So, while we’re here, we need to take care of it the best we can and leave it better than we found it…You know, we’re just a small, small little piece of time here that we get to influence our will on it, but we need to leave it for the next generation better than we found it.”
Mills has been employing soil health practices on his farm since he took it over in the late 90’s.
“So, when we started farming, we switched the farm over to no-till and then quickly to cover crops, and we try to cover crop every acre, every year. We’ve also worked on getting more diversity in our cash crops. So, we raise corn, soybeans, wheat, triticale, and grain sorghum. Our goal is to continually try to find new cash crops to bring into the operation because I think just doing a monoculture cash crop just really isn’t as beneficial for our soils as what maybe we think it is.”
Mills says farming has become so advanced since he started.
“When I started farming, we knew what we were doing, but now it’s a big, big business. I consider us very blessed and lucky to get to where we have without screwing up too much, or at least be able to weather those screw-ups. So, as time goes on, we find that things are more globally tied. Markets: things happen so much faster. When we started farming, you couldn’t hardly screw up marketing. Today, it’s a huge, huge business that we’ve really got to watch out for and be better at every day.”
Cameron and his wife, Cara, said it’s humbling to be considered in that elite group of farmers.
The Master Farmer event is sponsored annually by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture.