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Soil Sense

89 EpisodesProduced by NDSU ExtensionWebsite

Welcome to the Soil Sense Podcast, where we believe that building healthier soils is not just a prescription, but rather a pursuit. This journey requires collaboration, curiosity, and communication among farmers, agricultural researchers, agronomists, consultants, and extension. You’re going to hear… read more


Improving Soil Health Over Generations with Lee Trautman

Lee Trautman joins us today. Lee farms corn and soybeans in Jamestown, North Dakota with his brother and father. Trautman Farms has been no till for over 20 years giving Lee a unique farming experience of very limited tillage.

The EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) introduced the idea of cover crops to Trautman Farms. The cover crops they initially chose were based on what seed they had available. Now Lee employs rye and has found that it “fits the bill” for their operation and assists with weed suppression and water consumption. Lee discusses the significant impact his practices have had on his farm and the conversations it has inspired with his neighbors and landlords.

“That's what really gets you is when you get somebody who's not around every day or  that sees it every day or maybe has never seen a no-till field. And  they come out and they just can't stop saying good things about your soils. That really means a lot to me.” -Lee Trautman

“Sometimes you can just go out in a field and and stick a shovel in the ground and just be like, yes, this is a good piece of ground. And I can do that in all of my fields. I can stick a shovel in the ground and there's always worms. There's good aggregation. There’s structure. There's lots of organic matter. It's just a beautiful piece of ground most of the time. And just knowing that we've helped create that and kind of keep it established that way so…..hopefully the next generation can enjoy it and keep improving it.” -Lee Trautman

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Lee Trautman, a farmer in Jamestown, North Dakota
  • Hear how Trautman Farms manage their farm with three family members running different parts of the operation
  • Explore what program introduced Trautman Farms to cover crops
  • Learn how Lee manages the use of rye and is able to replenish his seed every year
  • Discover what healthy soils means to Lee and how he can demonstrate their vitality on his farm

Connect with Soil Sense:

Soil Sense Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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