Soil and Water Conservation with Ryan Britt

Fifth generation farmer Ryan Britt talks about the practices he’s combined over the years and the results he’s seeing in north central Missouri. Ryan has been a full-time farmer of soybeans, corn and wheat alongside his father ever since returning after college about 23 years ago. Ryan shares the journey he and his father have been on to transition their farm to no-till, add more cover crops, plant green, and incorporate livestock into their row crop operations. We also talk about various incentive programs that Ryan has been able to take advantage of, and how their soil health practices set them up for the drought conditions they’re currently experiencing.

“Between the no till practices, the cover crop, and the terraces, we’ve actually greatly minimized some of our nutrient runoff concerns and our erosion concerns. So, you kind of have to keep stacking all those things together. It’s not one particular practice that makes a significant change, it’s the whole system. We’ve seen that through the course of time, through stacking all those together, we’re actually seeing some improvement in some of our land.”

Ryan has become very involved in volunteer leadership positions, including his current role as an executive board member for the National Association of Conservation Districts where he represents the north central region. He’s also the immediate past president of the Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and a former Randolph County Farm Bureau President, among other service positions. He says these roles have exposed him to how other farms operate and given him countless lessons that he’s been able to bring back to his farm for conservation, efficiency, and profitability.

“My father and my grandfather always encouraged me to try to improve things, to try to leave it better than you found it. As I got to seeing the different things that actually had lasting impacts, conservation and specifically soil and water programs are one of those things that I felt was a great investment and I feel like we’re able to continue. And it’s something that I feel like my kids will be able to be proud of or at least get some of the benefits from.”