Rod Peters joined his uncle, Otto Bartel, and father, Ralph Peters in their farming enterprise after he graduated in 1976 from Kansas State University. He took over the farm after they retired and decided to focus on crops. Rod’s family includes wife Linda, son Brady and wife Karyn, and son Nicholas, who returned to help.
He introduced a major shift in 1995, when he went to continuous no till. All tillage equipment was sold or traded for a no-till drill, planter, and sprayer. The transition was made easier by having close neighbors who were transitioning. The decision was not easy, but the rewards are many, Rod said.
“The soil now has structure that has improved to hold more water before runoff occurs,” he said. “When residue is left on the surface, with plants growing year-round, the biological activity beneath the soil is enhanced and contributes to yields with less inputs.
Soybeans are double-cropped into harvested wheat stubble. Corn is planted into terminated cover crops that were seeded after first-year corn and soybean crops. Wheat is drilled into corn and soybean stubble after harvest.
Rod and Nick said cost-share programs were vital to becoming good stewards of the soil. All of the cropland has terraces and waterways with the help of cost share.
At least 850 trees and shrubs were planted to stabilize stream banks and support wildlife. Through the Conservation Reserve Program, they established 30 acres of grass filter strips next to trees bordering fields. They also established butterfly habitat.
Other practices include installation of pasture solar water pumps and walnut tree preservation.
“In our opinion, the Marion County NRCS is one of the best counties in the state of Kansas, with office personnel who have the knowledge needed to explain and implement programs handed down from the federal and state,” he said. “Take advantage of their expertise to make improvements on your farm.”