Upper Republican Natural Resources District
Steve Tucker has lived and farmed on his family’s operation in southwest Nebraska for 26 years. He has a wife and four children, and recently has been working with the Upper Republican NRD to study the way cover crops and monocrops use water differently.
The Tuckers rotate a diverse assortment of crops, raise livestock, and utilize cover crops on their 100 percent no-till, dry-land operation. Steve told NACD he has been working to increase productivity and organic matter in his soil at the same time as reducing his dependency on synthetic inputs. “I participate in the CSP program and am a strong advocate for implementing farming practices that are regenerating and not degrading of our soils,” he added.
In Steve’s region, water use is a monumental issue. “How we use soil health principles to most efficiently use water is vital for the future of our area,” he said. “The more we utilize these principles, the more we will remain a vibrant farming operation. The better the soil health, the better we can survive difficult times.”
One way Steve has maximized water efficiency is grazing cover crops. “It’s made a big impact on my farm,” he said. “Growing cover crops without livestock is like eating cake without frosting. I was missing half the ingredients and getting little benefit.”