Archive for Thursday, January 27, 2005

Award surprises Lenning

January 27, 2005

When his father died in 1988, LeRoy Lenning briefly considered

leaving the family farming business. But his love of the land led him

to buy his own farm the next year and to continue the tradition with

his family.

"It's so hard when you get out of it to get back on," he said. "So

far we've made it work."

Raised on a farm in Johnson County, Lenning helped his father farm

for years before buying a 160-acre farm east of Baldwin. He now farms about 2,200 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat for various landlords in Douglas, Johnson and Miami counties.

Lenning earned a Kansas Bankers Assn. Conservation Award for his

conservation techniques. He said he was surprised to get it.

"A lot more people are probably more deserving of it than me,"

Lenning said. "I appreciate it, and I'll just keep on doing what I've

been doing."

Conservation techniques Lenning employs include crop rotation and

no-till farming. Even though he has always used conservation

techniques to some extent in his farming, Lenning said, he didn't

begin no-till farming in Douglas County until about five years ago.

"It depends on what works best on the ground," he said.

With no-till farming, farmers don't significantly disturb the soil by

plowing or disking. Lenning said this allowed the soil to retain more

moisture. Earthworm activity also increases with no-till farming, he

said, which leads to more pores in the ground and more moisture and nutrients.

"It takes five to six years before you start seeing tremendous

benefits," he said. "It's been so dry that it's been hard to make

anything work."

Lenning said even though recent dry conditions have made it difficult to see significant changes, there have been improvements. In the coming years, he said, he would continue to use conservation

techniques.

"We'll just pray for good weather and hang on tight," he said.

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