Think back to a time before there were drones, genetically modified crops and black soils turned over by plows. Fast-forward to today and no-till (farming without disturbing the soil) represents 100 million acres in the U.S. alone, conserving soil while reducing costs and labor. The history of no-till has been a long time coming.

From Maverick to Mainstream is a chronicling of the personal history that Frank Lessiter saw from the near-beginnings, as the first and only editor of No-Till Farmer since 1972. The concept of no-till farming was still in its infancy at that time, just 10 years after one “crazy” farmer in Kentucky, Harry M. Young, tried it out on less than 1 acre.

Harry’s son, John Young, remembers, “I was 11 years old then, and didn’t recognize the huge changes that were about to take place in farming. Back in the early days, Frank flew down to our western Kentucky farm on more than one occasion to visit with my late father. He was a keen enthusiast for no-till from the beginning, and remains so today.”

From Maverick to Mainstream: A History of No-Till Farming contains numerous short items “from the archives” of No-Till Farmer issues and 56 chapters including:

  • Notching the No-Till Milestones Through the Years
  • Meeting the No-Till Legends
  • Plowing is a Practice from the Past
  • More Earthworms Liven Up No-Till Fields

Lessiter’s life work is much more than just a history book. “It covers the people and their trials and successes,” says his son, Mike, president of Lessiter Media Inc. “It will interest everyone in agriculture, but also anyone who enjoys celebrating the early adopters and underdogs who changed the world. The book serves as a lasting reminder of how innovations, and their determined personal champions like those profiled in the book, can still make a difference — through grit, learning and sharing, and the encouragement and support of others.”

With 45-plus years of archival articles, photos, comic strips, ads and infographics, this stunning collection is the perfect gift for any admirer of American innovation. Details on From Maverick to Mainstream: A History of No-Till Farming can be found at

Publishing pioneer Frank Lessiter, who has reported on no-till since 1972, has written ‘From Maverick to Mainstream: A History of No-Till Farming,’ an all-new book including over 416 pages, 650 photos and another 125 visuals.