Syngenta and No-Till Farmer magazine recognized the 17th class of No-Till Innovator Award winners at a banquet held during the Annual National No-Tillage Conference in Indianapolis, Jan. 9-12, 2013.
“Syngenta understands the entire growing process and has aligned its focus on total crop solutions – including top performing seed varieties and crop protection products – that produce higher yields from fewer resources,” said David Piñon, senior communications lead, Syngenta. “And to keep up with the demands of a growing global population, Syngenta continually invests in research efforts to provide more relevant and sustainable solutions to growers.
“This year’s No-Till Innovator Award winners have proven themselves leaders in the effort to increase adoption of sustainable farming methods, and Syngenta is proud to be part of such a valuable program and conference, which consistently projects these important messages to growers.”
Winners were chosen based on their commitment to the advancement of no-till farming, regardless of the crop grown or the equipment or products used. The 2012 No-Till Innovators are:
Daryl Starr, Advanced Ag Solutions LLC – Business and Service
Daryl Starr of Advanced Ag Solutions LLC in Lafayette, Ind., was first introduced to no-till when his father converted to a continuous no-till system in the early 1990s. Starr consults for clients on about 350,000 acres, half of which are committed to a continuous no-till system and most have at least some no-till or conservation-till in their operations. The business was founded in 2006 and targets high-tech, no-till farmers as clients.  Starr focuses on gathering data to help clients continuously improve their operations, and 90 percent of the research conducted is from on-farm research in no-till systems. He won the Precision Ag Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 and earned the River Friendly Farmer Award while farming with his father. Looking to the future, Starr has plans to expand his partnerships by looking for advisors in other geographies interested in collaborating to enhance no-till systems.
Dan DeSutter – Crop Production
Dan DeSutter of Attica, Ind., farms 4,300 acres of no-till corn, soybeans, winter wheat and alfalfa. A finance major turned farmer, this nominee has a true passion for agriculture and found his way back to farming in the early 1990s. He and his father run a family-operated no-till farm and are progressive in their practices.
DeSutter explains his progressive attitude in this statement, “I think we excel at looking at new techniques and adapting them into our own system – particularly the use of cover crops and manure and no-till. We’ve married those three.” DeSutter has coined the term “bio-till,” or the use of Mother Nature and plants in particular, to do the work people have always thought steel and chemicals need to do. He has hosted numerous agriculture groups from Brazil, Argentina and all over the United States on his no-till farm, as well as many field days to promote no-till farming. On a global scale, DeSutter has worked with the World Food Bank in Washington, D.C., with a Consortium of African nations to teach no-till techniques, advances in the field and ways for them to increase efficiencies in their farming operations while learning about agriculture.
Midwest Cover Crops Council – Organization
The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) was founded in August 2006 by a diverse group from academia, farmers, non-governmental organizations, commodity interests, private sector, and representatives from federal and state agencies. MCCC collaborates to address soil, water, air and agricultural quality concerns in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
Each year the MCCC has an annual meeting in one of the participating states or provinces to plan and present new cover crop information across the north-central region. As a multistate, diverse organization, the MCCC has conducted research, educational programs and field days around no-till farming and cover crops throughout the region. The working groups are currently collaborating on development of midwest cover crops resources, website development, other education/extension needs, strategic communications planning and research proposal development. The MCCC has implemented web based cover crop selection tools for field crops in IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, Ontario, and WI and vegetable crops in MI. The MCCC recently published the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, a pocket reference about cover crops for the Midwest.
Randy Pryor – Research and Education
Randy Pryor is an extension educator working for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension serving Saline County and Southeast Nebraska since 1982. His on-farm research, demonstrations and teaching efforts have focused on the long-term benefits of no-till farming.
Pryor encouraged growers in his area to sign up for carbon credits, and because of his efforts, southeast Nebraska became the leader for carbon credits in the United States.
Pryor has won the National Distinguished Extension Educator Award, Nebraska Energy Project Award, Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence and Extra Mile Award from Nebraska Extension. Pryor believes, “Education is really the most important key with no-till with emphasis on the next generation of farmers. I have seen a direct benefit of organizing van loads of farmers to attend regional and national no-till conferences. The growers who want to learn will be at these meetings, field days and plot tours. It’s difficult to get them to go sometimes, but once that light bulb turns on, we often see the positive changes to their own operations, or new on-farm research ideas. Ultimately it has a ripple effect on the neighbors.”  
No-till farming is an environmentally sound and economical method of crop management that is rapidly spreading throughout the world. The 17th class of No-Till Innovators were selected by a committee of leaders who represent different aspects of the no-till industry, including Chuck Leonard, key account agronomist, Syngenta; Frank Lessiter, editor, No-Till Farmer magazine; Rodney Rulon, Rulon Enterprises, Arcadia, Ind.; Terry Taylor, TNT Farms, Geff, Ill.; and Dan Towery, Ag Conservation Solutions, Lafayette, Ind.

For more information about the No-Till Innovator Awards, please visit the program website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

  • 2012 No-Till Innovator Award winners recognized at 2013 National No-Tillage Conference in Indianapolis.


  • Recipients include Daryl Starr, Advanced Ag Solutions LLC; Dan DeSutter; Midwest Cover Crops Council; Randy Pryor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.