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Morgan Brothers, LLC

Taking care of the environment, their family and consumers
Brothers continue their family sustainability legacy

To Brent and Carter Morgan, sustainability just makes sense. No matter how they slice it, they save money on labor and inputs and time in the field and regardless of weather, are confident in a good crop.

Carter and Brent Morgan, along with their dad, grow food-grade corn and soybeans in west central Indiana and east central Illinois. Morgan Brothers, LLC is based near Cayuga, Indiana. Their acreage is 100% no-till/minimum-till and mostly planted to cover crops during the off-season. Not only do their sustainability decisions help their bottom line, but they also help their local waterways.

The brothers’ dad, Brian, and uncle started no-tilling on their soybean acres in the early 1990s. By 2006 they had sold all their tillage equipment, bought the necessary no-till planter attachments and rebuilt their planter in their shop.

“We have enough slope around here that even on our bare, no-tilled soil, if we don't have something growing, you can still see erosion happening. You want to keep your soil in place,” Carter said. “If you start driving around during a rain, you either don't notice water coming off our field or whatever is coming off the field is generally cleaner than what's coming off the field next to ours.”

The Morgans have tried just about every imaginable cover crop and cover crop mix, never afraid to try something new. They agree that you can’t put a price on soil health.

“It's just a balance of everything. Balance of the water, balance of the oxygen and balance of life in that soil. That's something that gets undervalued,” Carter said. “If you don't disturb it, you wouldn't believe how much you see it move naturally. You can see the earthworms move the soil.”

No-till practices along with cover crops have been a great system for the brothers but they say one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to farming. They’re constantly improving their land’s value with methods like adding drainage tile. Carter, who has spoken to several local groups about his farming practices, encourages farmers to think about what would work for them instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Everything can pay off when you use it right,” Brent said. “Every tool works right when the right person is using it. It’s having the right knowledge with the right tool. It’s a balancing act and I can tell you we’ve had our share of failures.”

Despite the usual setbacks, equipment maintenance, long days on the road between fields and long days in general, Brent and Carter can’t imagine their life any differently.

“You can't put a value on my livelihood and the lifestyle I get to live,” Brent added. “I feel free.”

For the brothers, growing food to feed their families and other consumers is more than a lifestyle, it’s a sense of responsibility to the environment, their family and their fellow consumers.

"We are consumers, as well. Everything I do on our farm comes back to other consumers’ families, but mine, too,” Carter said. “My well sits on the edge of my field, so I want the water that my family is drinking to be as healthy as possible. We’re not just random people. We’re just like every other consumer.”
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