"Nate may only be 26-years-old, but he farms like a conservation veteran," says long-time Sioux County District Conservationist Greg Marek. Ronsiek says he learned many conservation practices from his late father, Vince, while growing up on his family's century farm and while earning an agriculture degree at Kansas State University.
Ronsiek raises 65 stock cows with his wife, Rachel, on 600 acres of land, including the family homestead where they now live.
He conducted side-by-side comparisons of no-till and conventional till tests plots as an Iowa State Extension’s On-Farm Research Program and an Iowa Learning Farm cooperator. Ronsiek says he didn't see a difference.
Building a Culture of Conservation: Ronsiek has heard that no-tilling into residue can be a problem for some farmers, but he hasn’t seen it. He says his planter can handle heavy residue and his fields can handle heavy rain much better than conventionally tilled fields.
"I know no-till works on the hills—that is a no brainer for me. There was virtually no yield difference between no-till and conventional tillage in the test plots. I'm excited because now I'm past the first three years of no-till. In future growing seasons yields are expected to increase—profit potential, too. What I don't spend on fuel and time for conventional tillage field trips I can invest elsewhere on the farm."
An ILF field day was held on Nate's farm in 2009. (Right) ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist Joel DeJong talks with attendees about root structure in a soil pit, dug for the field day.