When a derecho windstorm damaged 850,000 acres of Iowa crops in August, Iowa farmer Jack Boyer noticed his crops did a better job of withstanding the excessive winds.
Long an advocate of soil conservation, Boyer decided to conduct some research with the help of staff at Iowa State University. Their analysis found that Boyer's efforts to improve soil health on his farm was a significant factor in his crops withstanding the storm.
"It was the researchers' judgment that our resilience was due to our practices like no-till and cover crops, which allows the soil to have a better structure," said Boyer, who is also a John Deere retiree. "Having that soil health and soil structure was a benefit that allowed me to have less damage from the derecho than some of my neighbors did."
Boyer's commitment to soil conservation led to him being named farmer of the year by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, which shares more of Boyer's story in this video and related article.