Terry Willhoit | Batavia
Terry farms with his brother Mark in both Wapello and Jefferson Counties around the Batavia area. Like the majority of the farmers in the Cedar Creek Partnership Watershed Project, the Willhoit brothers grow corn and soybeans. "We are all no till and apply our nitrogen with the planter in the spring." They also own a sprayer and do all the spraying themselves.
Q. What water quality practices have you used on your farm?
A. "On the farm there are a lot of terraces, waterways, filter strips, and turn strips. Also we use no till and have planted cover crops for the past two years." Terry flew on a couple different mixes oats, rapeseed and turnips on 57 acres. Another 66 acres of cereal rye, rapeseed, and turnips in the fall of 2014. This year they had some prevent plant acres and drilled oats and radishes on 160 acres. "I look at some of the prevent plant acres around us and many those acres have been tilled multiple times this summer... they could have planted a cover crop on many of those fields."
Q. Why did you voluntarily adopt these practices?
A. "It just makes sense economically, but the main reason is controlling erosion on the farm. I can't imagine the amount of soil that other farmers have lost by using conventional tillage methods."
Q. What, if any, assistance did you receive to incorporate these practices (financial as well as technical)?
A. "I have signed up for funding through the WQI Cedar Creek Partnership Watershed for cover crops the last two years. Also received funding from the Competine Creek Watershed Project, and state cost-share for terrace projects."
Q. What is your philosophy as it relates to farming and the environment?
A. "I really believe in no till, it's the only way we can build the soil. Those guys that bale the corn stalks for cellulosic ethanol production are removing their organic matter from the field. I would like to see the organic matter go up instead of down. Every time you use tillage your organic matter has to be going down I would like to build it up." "In the future we all might have to plant cover crops on everything. There needs to be something growing all the time throughout the year."