Dave Brandt dead at 76: Tributes pour in for ‘no-till’ farming legend who ‘loomed large’

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A PIONEER in no-till farming, Dave Brandt, has died at the age of 76 after a fatal car crash.

The Ohio farmer became well-known in agricultural circles for no-tilling farming, a technique for growing crops without disturbing the soil.

David Brandt, a pioneer in no-till farming from Ohio, died at the age of 76 after a fatal car crash

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David Brandt, a pioneer in no-till farming from Ohio, died at the age of 76 after a fatal car crashCredit: USDA/Dianne Johnson
Brandt wasn't only well-known in farming circles but gained popularity on social media after a meme was made out of a picture of him

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Brandt wasn’t only well-known in farming circles but gained popularity on social media after a meme was made out of a picture of himCredit: Know Your Meme

No-till farming, along with another practice of Brandt’s, cover crops, which are unharvested plants used to cover the soil, increased organic matter in the soil while decreasing costs on chemical inputs and tillage equipment.

Brandt also became a meme on social media, which showed a photo of himself along with the caption: “It ain’t much, but it’s honest work.”

He died on Sunday following a car accident days before in Illinois. according to Progressive Farmer.

Tributes poured in following the death of the Fairfield County farmer, who was located about 25 from Columbus, Ohio.

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“David’s stature loomed large, but what he accomplished is what made him a giant in the soil health and regenerative farming movement,” read a statement from Understanding Ag, a regenerative agricultural consulting company that was founded in 2018 with Brandt’s help.

“He had a positive impact in the lives of many, and was a sincere and faithful steward of the land God blessed him with, transforming it from a degraded resource into an ecological wonder.”

The company added: “He truly transformed dirt into soil. He changed people’s minds.

“His ability to entertain while educating was unparalleled, making people laugh even while questioning the way they farmed. He was truly a joy to listen to.”

An official from the United States Department of Agriculture also said some kind words following Brandt’s death.

“I’m saddened to hear of the loss of a great soil health champion — my friend, advisor, and neighbor, Dave Brandt,” said USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby on Monday.

“He was kind, a dedicated conservationist, a pioneer, and an advocate among farmers for important practices like no-till, cover crops and nutrient management.”

Before he died, Brandt was reportedly encouraging Cosby to make sure farmers were educated about cover crops and understood their long-term benefits to the soil.

Cosby continued his statement by saying the Natural Resources Conservation Service “staff members across the country, especially in Ohio, will miss Dave tremendously, as he was always a great conservationist and teacher.

“He leaves behind a legacy of farmers who are continuing the soil health movement across Ohio and the nation.”

After serving in the Vietnam War, Brandt returned home in the late 1960s to embrace farming life.

But after his father died in a farming accident, Brandt and his wife Kendra, who died in 2020, had to sell the farm and start over using a very small amount of equipment.

He went on to farm and operate Walnut Creek Seeds with his son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.



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