Dan Gillespie serves as a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service No-till Specialist in the Norfolk, Nebraska, Field Office. After graduating from Battle Creek High School and attending UNL he has been farming since 1974.
After first trying no-till in 1986, Dan has been 27 years continuous no-till since 1991 in his irrigated and dryland cash grain corn/soybean operation.
In 2005 Dan began seeding cover crops following soybeans to improve erosion control. Realizing that cover crops have many more benefits, he has implemented continuous cover crops since 2013. Continuous cover crops have dramatically reduced runoff, erosion and ephemeral gully problems in his HEL fields. Soil organic matter has almost doubled and soil health has greatly improved with the integration of cover crops. Planting green into living cover crops has the potential to increase soil health benefits even more.
Participating in no-till workshops and field days, Dan can be seen presenting the Rainfall Simulator Demonstration to kick off the events. The Rainfall Simulator is a graphic demonstration of the benefits of retaining residue cover and preventing the damaging impact of raindrops or irrigation water falling on bare soils. Farmers often experience an aha moment when they see how little rainfall actually infiltrates a soil profile when the bare surface is sealed by pounding water droplets.