July 23, 2024

Balancing act: Farmers talk sustainability at State Fair

INDIANAPOLIS — Sustainability is at the core of the Morgan Brothers farm. Through sustainable practices, they save money on labor and inputs, and time in the field.

Carter and Brent Morgan, along with their dad, grow food-grade corn and soybeans in west-central Indiana and east-central Illinois.

Their acreage is 100% no-till and minimum-till, with most acres in cover crops over winter.

The family was among the daily Featured Farmers at this year’s Indiana State Fair.

Not only do their sustainability decisions help their bottom line, but they also help their local waterways.

“We have enough slope around here that even on our bare, no-tilled soil, if we don’t have something growing, you can still see erosion happening,” Carter said.

“You want to keep your soil in place. If you start driving around during a rain, you either don’t notice water coming off our field or whatever is coming off the field is generally cleaner than what’s coming off the field next to ours.”

The Morgans have experimented with cover crop mixes, never afraid to try something new.

They agree that you can’t put a price on soil health.

“It’s just a balance of everything,” Carter said. “Balance of the water, balance of the oxygen and balance of life in that soil. That’s something that gets undervalued.

“If you don’t disturb it, you wouldn’t believe how much you see it move naturally. You can see the earthworms move the soil.”

Carter encourages farmers to think about what would work for them instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Everything can pay off when you use it right,” Brent said. “Every tool works right when the right person is using it. It’s having the right knowledge with the right tool. It’s a balancing act and I can tell you we’ve had our share of failures.”

The Morgan brothers can’t imagine their life any differently.

“You can’t put a value on my livelihood and the lifestyle I get to live,” Brent added. “I feel free.”

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor