Brookfield, Wis - Lessiter Media (parent company of Farm Equipment and Precision farming Dealer magazine) has selected Ray McCormick of Vincennes, Ind., as its 2024 Conservation Ag Operator Fellow. Launched in 2022 to mark the start of No-Till Farmer's second 50 years, the annual Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship program visits a leading no-till farmer throughout the year and shares the real-time decision-making and solutions needed to make no-till and conservation ag practices work in real-world conditions. 

“It's a great honor to be selected to be the 2024 Fellow,” McCormick said. “Anything I can do today to further the cause of no-till, cover crops, conservation practices and sustainability will help agriculture have a brighter future for the next generation using the resources of this great country.”

Lessiter Media editors and industry advisors selected McCormick due to his extensive experience with no-till and innovative approach to implementing a diverse spectrum of conservation practices. McCormick is a 2010 No-Till Innovator Award recipient, was honored as a No-Till Living Legend in 2011 and is a frequent National No-Tillage Conference speaker. He has been no-tilling his 3,200-acre operation for more than 30 years.

The Fellowship was made possible through the support of the 2024 benefactor, The Nature Conservancy.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled to congratulate Ray McCormick on being named as No-Till Farmer’s Operator Fellow for 2024,” said Kris Johnson, director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Agriculture Program. “As a Life Trustee for our Indiana program, Ray has long demonstrated his conservation commitment by being a leader in adopting farming practices that protect and conserve the natural resources we all share. He is a true champion for conservation agriculture.” 

The Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship program includes an in-depth, year-long content series shared via No-Till Farmer channels that details McCormick's decisions and actions throughout the year. The multi-media series examines his approach to a variety of subjects, including cropping decisions, attachment/equipment purchases, test plots, seeding/planting conditions and on-the-go decisions in response to weather and other variables.

Ray-McCormick About Ray McCormick

Ray McCormick, a No-Till Legend, No-Till Innovator and No-Till Farmer’s 2024 Conservation Ag Operator Fellow, has been no-tilling his 3,200-acre operation for more than 30 years. McCormick believes nothing pays bigger dividends than investing in conservation. When he talks diversification, it means raising peaches for the fresh market, no-tilling corn, wheat, both full-season and double-cropped soybeans and cover crops, along with managing 1,000 acres of woodlands and wetlands for waterfowl and whitetail deer hunting. Recognizing the nutrient and soil protection value, McCormick says he would not sell residue from his no-till fields even if someone offered $100 per ton.

Farm Equipment and Precision Farming Dealer’s Ben Thorpe will also be present for the quarterly visits and understanding of what McCormick most needs in sales and service from his farm equipment dealers.

The program includes a unique “Ask the Operator” live webinar series, which will take place 6 times throughout the year. During this unique live video program, farmers, dealers and suppliers may ask McCormick for advice and questions about the no-till and cover cropping results he’s seen on his own farm. Farmers may also ask McCormick specific questions at any time through the "Ask the Operator" online forum. The capstone of the project includes a final report on performance and results, and a keynote presentation at the 33rd Annual National No-Tillage Conference in Louisville from Jan. 7-10, 2025.