No-Till Documentary


August 29, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) The roots of No-till Agriculture begin in Western Kentucky, where the majority of the state’s row crop is grown. It’s drawn the interest of a documentary producer at New York City’s Columbia University.

No-till is a way of growing crops from year to year without disturbing the ground through tillage, which increases the amount of water going into the soil and increases the organic matter and nutrients returned to the soil. University of Kentucky’s Extension Soils Specialist Lloyd Murdock was new to the scene at UK’s Research and Education Center in Western Kentucky when No-till was first practiced in the early 1960’s. He says that No-till “revolutionized agriculture.”

Murdock begins, “Basically, No-till has allowed us to continue to farm and pass the farm on to the next generation just as good as it was before. We couldn’t do that before No-till; it was impossible. I have read accounts and talked to some of those older fellas when I first came in and they talked about erosion – how those ditches were there, and how they didn’t know how we were going to continue to farm but for two or three more generations.”

The introduction of No-till Agriculture more than 50 years ago is what brought a video crew from Columbia University to this farm in Christian County, where No-till first began in the Blue Grass State.

A historical marker recognizes the birthplace of No-till farming here in Kentucky at the Harry and Laurence Young Farm at Herndon in Christian County in 1962. Today, Harry’s son John, and grandson, Al, continue to farm this land using the same No-till practices.

The video crew began by interviewing John Young to find out more about how his father, Harry, who became the first to try No-till in Kentucky, and how it changed farming forever. That recognition fills Murdock with pride, who also had his hand in early No-till research.

Murdock says, “It makes me proud to be a Kentuckian. It makes me proud to be a part of the University of Kentucky and a part of the group that helped change the world to an extent. I think the state of Kentucky can take a lot of pride.”

For videographer Adam Morrell, filming began in Ghana, then to Kentucky to show the contrast between No-till Agriculture in Ghana, and here at home. That led them to Murdock and their quest to find an expert in No-till Agriculture.

Morrell says, “I am looking for someone that knows No-till, in and out, and that has been involved with it for so long. He got back to him within the hour with Lloyd’s name and contact information and we were able to get in contact with Lloyd and make this all happen.”

The video crew spent two days in Western Kentucky shooting video and interviews for the project at both the Young Farm in Christian County and UK’s Research and Education Center in Princeton.

The project should be complete some time late this year or in early 2017. University of Kentucky will release more information about the documentary when it’s closer to completion.