INDIANAPOLIS — When trying to build something special, the best way is to start from the ground up. That is especially true when assembling a team to help Indiana’s farmers to yield more crops on less land with better resources.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the state’s soybean and corn checkoffs, have contracted with Purdue University to share the services of soil scientist and conservation agronomist Joe Rorick to help coordinate efforts on farm sustainability and production research projects within the state of Indiana.
Rorick has been a conservation agronomist for the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative for more than five years. The CCSI’s mission is to advance the adoption of soil health cropping systems and practices across Indiana.
The CCSI works with agribusinesses, non-government organizations, farmers, landowners and others through research, providing accurate information, training and assisting with workshops. The initiative is housed at Purdue, where Rorick earned his master’s degree in soil management, soil physics and cover crops in 2016.
“I came out of the Marine Corps in 2009 as the country went into the recession,” he said. “I used my G.I. Bill to go to school at Purdue, and I rediscovered a passion for soils and agriculture. My grandparents had farmed, but their farm was long gone by the time I came around.”
That passion for soils and agriculture opened new doors for Rorick.
“I had the opportunity to work with many folks in the Indiana Conservation Partnership as part of my graduate work, and I carried those relationships through into my role as the CCSI agronomist,” he said.
“I served in that role for five years, leading training efforts on soil health and cover crops for the Indiana Conservation Partnership and serving as a technical expert on those topics for Extension. I look forward to continuing the partnership development aspects and strengthening ties to ISA and ICMC with the university through this position.”
Purdue’s partnership with Indiana soybean and corn checkoffs benefits the state’s farmers.
“This position will be part of an expanding team at the university to develop and coordinate Purdue’s soil health efforts with on-farm research and demonstration,” Rorick said.
“I very much look forward to helping expand Purdue’s soil health efforts and continuing to serve the corn and soybean growers in this state. I’m a certified crop adviser with specialties in sustainability and 4R nutrient management.”
Purdue also recognizes the potential gains by working with ISA and ICMC.
“Joe Rorick is a phenomenal ag industry innovator and leader who has been instrumental in creating a successful understanding of the role of cover crops and soil health as part of the farm production portfolio,” said Ron Turco, professor and head of Purdue’s Agronomy Department. “His record of service to Indiana and the country have been phenomenal. I couldn’t be happier to than to see him in this new role.”
Rorick is also returning to his roots on a small scale along with his wife, Jess, and young son, Will.
“My wife and I have a small, diversified hobby farm and a toddler that takes up most of our free time — and even time that isn’t always free,” he said.