Steve Berger, Washington County

Farms: Corn, soybeans, hogs

Conservation practices used: No-till, cover crops (rye)

Value of cover crops: It stops soil erosion. Rye is a fantastic cover crop – great root system to hold soil in place – and of course, the top growth will shatter the raindrops.

“We have to make sure whatever we do in our operation is going to sustain agriculture for many years to come.”
Involvement in the Soil Health Partnership (SHP): SHP is a corn-farmer-led, 5-year-initiative to help measure management practices that improve soil health. The Soil Health Partnership was initiated by the National Corn Growers, and on the federal level, it involves NRCS. It brings in farmers; it brings in many of the state universities and a lot of the environmental groups. We have signed on for a five-year study, so it's going to be a great learning process.

Advice for other farmers: Go to a friend or neighbor because you'll learn best from someone close to you. It takes time and patience, but get started and stick with it.