Kentucky Farmer of the Year Relies on Precision

Kurt LawtonConservation, Equipment, Farmers, sustainability

Joe Nichols has evolved from watching his parents lose their farm when he was 17, to building a highly diversified 19,000-acre farm near Cadiz, KY. A recent story in offers a fascinating look at his Seven Springs Farms. In that piece he highlights his precision farming emphasis on input savings as well as environmental protection.

He makes extensive use of precision farming technology. For instance, he uses variable rate planting, determined by soil type. “Soil type reflects the water holding capacity of the soil,” he says.

“Some soils are more productive than others, and the more productive soils get the higher plant populations. In sports terms, we play defense with our less productive fields and play offense with our more productive soils.”

He also uses global positioning and auto-steering on his equipment for swath control during planting, spraying and applying fertilizer. “This cuts down on over applying and wasting money,” he says. “We strive to protect the environment and be the best stewards of the land and water that we can be.”

As a result of his success as a row crop farmer, Nichols has been selected as the 2010 Kentucky winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.

“The goal I started with was to build an operation from scratch that could someday be viewed as one of the best, well-managed farming operations in North America,” he says. “This overarching goal is what drives me each day.”

Read the entire story.