When northwest Kansas farmer and rancher Michael Thompson spoke at the 2019 National No-Tillage Conference in Indianapolis, his topic for the event was new: integrating livestock into no-till farming.

 

“I was going to be excited if I had three or four people at my session. I did have a few buddies who promised to show up,” Thompson said. “So I was really surprised when there were 120 people in the breakout session.”

Thompson farms 3,000 acres with his father, Richard, and his brother, Brian, near Almena. An early adopter of regenerative farming, with no-tilling in 2001 and rotational grazing and cover crops in 2009, Thompson has gained a name for mentoring and encouraging other farmers who want to do the same.

“I really, truly feel the education piece is how you get people on board — farmers helping farmers,” he said. “I wouldn’t be farming if it wasn’t for other people telling their stories and helping me. I try to help anyone that wants the help.”

An active member and president of the Colorado Conservation Tillage Association, Thompson talks at regional events of Kansas and Nebraska conservation districts, the No-Till on the Plains annual conference, and the High Plains Journal’s annual Soil Health U conference. He is featured in a soil health video series for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service, and he is active with other farmers on Facebook’s Kansas/Nebraska Soil Stewardship Group.

“There’s a lot on the line with adopting something new,” Thompson said. “It’s a little daunting and intimidating. I really hope locally and regionally that we can have cohesive efforts and come together for healthy soils and help the farmers of Kansas.”