Richard Sloan began farming near Brandon in 1978, joining his father's operation on land his grandfather purchased in 1938.
Before Richard moved home to farm, his father had adopted several conservation practices, including conservation tillage, rotations with oats and alfalfa, tile darinage and grassed waterways. Uninterested in teh cattle operaiton and wanting to focus on the hog business, Sloan simplified the rotatiosn to corn and soybeans. He implemented terraces, farmable bersm, no-till, contour planting, contour strips, and grassed headlands. In 2006, planned rotations and more intensive nutrient management were established out of his participation in a performance based watershed project. In 2011, Sloan was planting a winter cereal rye cover crop, and by 2012, prairie CRP strips were being used.
A benefit of using these conservation practices, Sloan says, is saving “soil, nutrients, water, time, energy, the environment and money.”
Along with his work on the farm, Sloan is heavily involved within his community including Brandon Area Community Club, Independence Boy Scout Troop 47, Cedar River Watershed Coalition and the Cedar Rapids Zen Center. He is a member of the advisory board to the Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project: Climate Change, Mitigation, and Adaptation in Corn-based Cropping Systems, Practical Farmers of Iowa and is an assistant commissioner for the Buchanan County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Sloan is also a member of the Lime Creek Watershed Improvement Association: www.limecreekwatershed.wordpress.com
Building a Culture of Conservation: “Soils are complex biological systems that we are constantly learning more about. Sustainability means we will not let these valuable resources be depleted and that we will not let valuable nutrients become pollutants in our environment. Highly productive farms now, and in the future, built around systems which protect native species on land and in the local streams all the way to the Gulf of Mexico is our goal. Farming is so much more than maximizing today’s production of corn and soybeans.”