Chicago Farmers member is named No-Till Legend

    National No-Tillage Conference recognizes the Top 25 Innovators.

    Chicago Farmers member and former president Jeff Martin, owner and operator of Martin Family Farms, received the title of No-Till Legend on January 12, 2017, at the 25th Anniversary National No-Tillage Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.  Martin was among the top 25 innovators in the history of no-till recognized by Frank Lessiter, No-Till Farmer editor.  Lessiter noted Martin’s passion for no-till. He related that Martin has maintained this process through the good times and the bad and has been a major contributor to no-till by reporting the results he was seeing on his fields. He not only promoted no-till, but helped to improve no-till operations over the years, Lessiter said.  Martin was unable to attend the awards dinner, but his son and business partner, Derek Martin, accepted the award on his behalf. 

    How does one achieve “No-Till Legend” status?  According to the No-Till Conference, a No-Till Legend is “a person who played a key role in the growth of no-till from 3.2 million acres in 1972 to nearly 100 million acres in 2017.” 

    Martin said that he first decided to no-till when he walked out to one of his corn fields during a dust storm and witnessed the knee high corn being cut down by the dust. Not only was precious soil being lost, but crops were being damaged.  Martin knew things had to change.  After researching viable options to improve soil quality and to prevent more soil loss, Martin finally decided on no-till. 

    Martin began to no-till in the early 1980s and still continues the practice today. He related, “No-till has many benefits that definitely outweigh the negatives. No-till promotes more earthworms, which are great facilitators. They incorporate organic matter and improve drainage and aeration; all while helping water infiltration and enhancing nutrient cycling.  No-till gives microbes a boost and allows for better cultivation of the soil. Farmers make fewer trips over their field, which saves in fuel and labor costs and sustains the soil against wind and/or rain erosion.”  

    Martin said he is happy with the results he has seen with no-till/strip-till over the last 30 years, noting the biggest benefit is better soil health, which is the key to better yields.  Martin also said he is pleased to have passed this practice on to his sons, Doug and Derek, and is eager to see what the next 30 years brings. 

    If you would like more information, please visit the farm website at or email Jeff Martin at [email protected]