National ag conference coming to Louisville; Scholarships available

Published 5:59 pm Sunday, November 28, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The National No-Tillage Conference is coming to Louisville in January, and the Kentucky Department of agriculture says scholarships are available for first-time attendees to what is billed as the world’s largest no-till event.

No-till planting, a practice that first found success in Kentucky, marks 60 years in 2022. And for only the second time in its 30-year history, the National No-Tillage Conference, the event that celebrates and encourages no-till practices for agriculture, will be held in Kentucky.

“We are excited to once again host the National No-Tillage Conference,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. “Since the practice first found success in Kentucky in 1962, it’s only fitting we welcome the conference that celebrates and encourages this agricultural execution, back home to where it all began. No-till planting has changed the way Kentucky farmers can work the land for the benefit of all.”

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The idea of no-till farming had been researched for years, but it wasn’t until 1962 that Christian County farmer Harry Young had the first successful commercial crop of no-till corn. Using a combination of herbicides and atrazine for weed control and a mule-powered planter, Young harvested 0.7 acres of corn using this new method. It was a method needed by Kentucky farmers who were having issues with soil erosion with regular agricultural practices on the state’s rolling hills.

Sixty years later, more than 104 million U.S. acres were in no-till productions, according to the 2017 agriculture census. Agricultural producers are still eager to learn more about the practice. The national conference is expecting up to 1,000 attendees.

It runs Jan. 4-7 at the Galt House in Louisville, with information from leading no-tillers, agronomists, researchers, and other experts, for farmers to get the most out of their no-till farming system.

To help farmers in Kentucky and other southern states take a more operative approach to their soil conservation practices, the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program will provide scholarship funding to support farmers attending their first National No-Tillage Conference.

“We are honored to announce this first-ever scholarship, which reflects the importance of soil health, continued education on best conservation practices,” said Frank Lessiter, founding editor of the No-Till Farmer publication and the National No-Tillage Conference. The scholarship covers the full $449 registration fee. Visit to apply. The application process is first-come, first-served through Dec. 15.