Born and raised on a farm, Doug Campbell started farming in 1977 on rented land. He is now back home on the farm that has been in his family for generations. Located in rural Shannon City, Ringgold County, he runs a diverse operation with row crops, CRP land, hay and pasture for his cow/calf operation.
He notes that Ringgold County is a little different from other areas in Iowa, as many acres are pasture or in CRP. Because of the topography of the land, there are a lot of good conservation structures in place. He believes that the farms in his area are doing well with conservation methods.
Campbell has been practicing no-till for many years. He was inspired to change while going to college. “In 1978, I went to ISU and one of my professors held up a book on ridge tillage,” said Campbell. “I bought that book and read it from cover to cover. I came home and told Dad that I was going to do no-till. My dad thought I was crazy.”
He started with 10 acres and admits that he made some mistakes, but it worked. When his father saw his results, he began no-tilling some acres as well. Campbell says that their farm has changed a lot since then. They used to see erosion spots and washed out waterways, but with no-tilling and added terraces, it has all come together. He noted that now most of his neighbors have followed suit.
“If I leave soil on my farm, it means I leave fertility, which means my production stays good. That is my bottom line.”
Campbell's demonstrations compare warm season native grasses as an improved CRP option; and conversion of CRP land to no-till corn and soybean food plots.
Doug and his wife, Dayna, are the parents of two grown children. He has been active with the Ringgold County Fire Department and Rescue Dive Team, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, County Fair Board and in his church.