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