Mike StarkeyBrownsburg, IN

MikeStarkey020 NACDSoilHealthChampionLogoBrownsburg, Indiana
Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District (Supervisor)
M&J Starkey Farms 

My wife, Karen, and I have a daughter, Ceciley, and son-in-law, Brad Casselman, and a son, Nick. Our farm is a partnership with my nephew, Jeff Starkey. My son, Nick, is also active on the farm, as is Jeff’s son, Zach.

We raise corn, soybeans and wheat and beef for the freezer-beef market on the sixth-generation farm. Our farm is 100 percent no-till. I am currently president of the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and a supervisor on the Hendricks County SWCD.

Our family and I have been blessed and called to continue the legacy started by our parents and grandparents to carry on a true family farm. “My legacy as a conservationist is to improve and protect the borrowed living soil that God has given us and to keep our water clean and pure as the raindrops that fall from the sky.”

Soil Health Practices

We have been 100 percent no-till for 15 years and have used cover crops for 10-plus years. Our experiences have been 99 percent positive. These practices have virtually eliminated flooding on the farm’s fields, and also provided enough improved water retention to push the farm through the major drought in 2012. A university scientist has documented that due to the farm’s conservation practices, water leaving the farm is now cleaner than when it enters the land.

Challenges

We farm in a heavily urban area where it is hard to move machinery. The farm is also in the The School Branch Stream watershed, the third largest tributary feeding Eagle Creek reservoir, a primary drinking water source for Indianapolis.

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