Father and Farmer, Paving the Way for His Family - Tama County, Iowa

Adam Nechanicky currently farms 800 acres of the family farm with his dad, planting seed corn, commercial corn, beans, and hay. The farm has been in the family since 1902 and he takes pride in it. Not only do they manage their own 800 acres, but they also custom farm. In addition to crop farming responsibilities, Adam and his wife also have a cow-calf herd.

Adam remembers farming with his dad when he was younger. He said, “We’ve got the Wolf Creek right there, and when it floods, it comes up – it is flowing hard. I remember going out after a flood, it washed the dirt out, and you could see the ridges from the chisel points and you’re thinking…that’s six-eight inches of soil that just disappeared! That’s when I was quite a bit younger, thinking this isn’t good. Now I’m farming the ground and you have to do some dirt work here and there, sometimes it's a necessary evil”, but it’s not his normal practice. Adam has adopted conservation practices no-till, strip-till, and cover crops. He also participates in the Middle Cedar Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Benton/Tama Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project.

When discussing why he does these practices, he didn’t want to be cliché, but there’s a lot of thought into the future. “I have four boys, hopefully they all want to come back and farm, and I have to have something for them,” Adam said. There’s a Farm Strong t-shirt that Iowa State puts out that he says hits home, it says “farms are not just crops and cattle, it’s our heritage and our future.” 

Not only is he concerned about the future and what he can do to make the fields better for his kids, he also talked regulation. He said, “There’s already manure management regulations. I’m surprised we don’t have that for commercial application yet. So, I’m trying to work ahead and be in a position that when it is, we're ready.”

Adam is intrigued by the soil health movement. He said he’s proud to be part of it but questions why it is just now taking mainstream and encourages others to join the movement. Adam said “You may not see all the benefits in the first year or two; however, I think in the end, the long term benefits are there.” He went on to discuss that soil health saying, “I don’t think you need anything out of a bottle; if you get the soil health there, the soil will do it itself.”

If he were to offer any advice to people getting into cover crops and no-till, it’s that people need to understand that it is management change. “It’s important to remember the management behind it, it’s not something that you can throw down and walk away from, just like the corn and beans. If something doesn’t work the first time, ask yourself why, rather than quit. You wouldn’t quit after one poor yield on corn, would you?” He does just that, keeps trying, he jokes that he’s “trying to screw up his crop” every year by pushing the limits when trying new things.

Will Myers