Top farmers recognized at Conservation Tillage Conference

Master Farmers
Gail Keck (left) presented Master Farmer awards to Jan Layman, of Kenton; and David Brandt, of Carroll, Ohio.

ADA, Ohio — Some of the state’s top farmers and crop advisers were recognized at this year’s Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, March 2-3.

Cecelia Lokai-Minnich, chair of the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser Board, presented the crop adviser of the year award to Matt VanTilburg, of Celina.

VanTilburg is a certified crop adviser and sales manager and co-owner of VanTilburg Farms, along with his brothers, Kyle and Luke. He has contributed to the industry through speaking engagements based on cover crops, and conservation tillage.

Crop adviser award
Cecelia Lokai-Minnich presented the crop adviser award to Matt VanTilburg.

The award recognizes consultants who are highly motivated, deliver exceptional customer service for farmer clients, and promote good soil, pest and water management, in addition to good crop production.

Master farmers

The Master Farmer awards were presented by Gail Keck, of Ohio Farmer magazine. The Master Farmer award recognizes outstanding innovation, farm management, conservation and farm leadership — across the farmer’s career.

The award went to David Brandt, a grain farmer from Carroll, Ohio, and Jan Layman, who grain farms near Kenton.

Brandt and his wife, Kendra, farm about 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat. He is considered one of Ohio’s greatest advocates for soil conservation, including use of cover crops to build organic matter and preserve existing soil.

He has been no-till farming since 1971 and planting cover crops since 1978, and has worked with researchers to develop better uses for cover crops, including using them to reduce the need for fertilizer and herbicides.

Related: Soil health featured at CTTC Conference

Layman farms about 4,000 acres with his wife, Cindy. He has practiced continuous no-till since 1989, and currently grows non-GMO soybeans, for the Japanese market.

He is a leader in using GPS technology on his farm, including variable rate technology, weed control and soil conservation practices.

Jan also operates his own auctioneering business and provides custom drainage and excavation work. His farm will host the no-till summer tour Aug. 31.


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Chris Kick served Farm and Dairy's readership as a reporter for nearly a decade before accepting a job at Iowa State University Extension. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University.



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