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News Release

NRCS Pays Farmers to Stop Fighting Damaged, Wet Fields

News Release - Indiana

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

6013 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN  46278

2011 Tillage Transect Results Released

Indianapolis (October 4, 2011) – The latest bi-annual tillage transect results, compiled by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), are now complete and available on the ISDA web site at The results identify the types of tillage systems Indiana farmers are using and long-term trends of conservation tillage adoption.

The results show that 23% of the Indiana’s corn crop and 59% of soybean acreage were no-tilled.

“We have had a string of very wet springs with historic storm intensities. These weather events have caused tremendous erosion. This can bring about additional tillage as farmers try to dry and repair their fields and replant. We are encouraged to see no-till farming maintain a significant portion of our cropland acres under these circumstances. Additionally, NRCS and the Indiana Conservation Partnership are actively promoting a total Conservation Cropping Systems approach to farming which focuses on soil health and function. We believe the no-till acres represented in the 2011 transect data are at a much higher and sustainable quality because farmers are using multiple practices implemented as a system on their fields,” said Barry Fisher, state conservation agronomist for USDA’s NRCS.  

Some of the most respected conservation farmers in the nation can be found in the Hoosier state, according to State Resource Conservationist for Indiana, Shannon Zezula.

“Despite the unique field conditions affecting the 2011 crop, many Indiana producers were still committed to the economic and resource benefits of conservation cropping systems, of which no-till is key,” said Zezula.  “One of the priorities of the Indiana Conservation Partnership is to help more farmers to have success implementing these conservation cropping systems through efforts such as the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative and by providing additional technical and financial assistance at all levels.”

Zezula goes on to say due to Indiana producer’s conservation tillage efforts, over 31 million tons of soil were saved from eroding into Indiana water bodies.  In addition, over 14 million gallons of diesel fuel were conserved due to reduced trips across fields.

“The success of conservation cropping systems can be shown through the Tillage Transect,” said ISDA Director of Environmental Stewardship, Jerod Chew.” The Transect gives information on the number of farmers who returned to conventional tillage or continued to no-till and provides an opportunity to see areas of the state where our partnership should focus our resources to encourage conservation implementation.”

The Cropland Tillage Transects began in 1990 as a joint effort of the Indiana Conservation Partnership members. When the transect inventories first began, they were taken every year. Currently, the surveys are conducted every other year by teams made up of staff from:

  • local Soil and Water Conservation Districts

  • USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service

  • Purdue University’s Cooperative Extension Service

  • Indiana State Department Agriculture

  • Additional agencies and partners


Jeannie Keating, ISDA Manager of Media Relations 317.696.9695 or

Becky Fletcher (317) 290-3200 x325 or


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