CCSI Farmer Profile: Dan DeSutter

Who: Dan DeSutter

Where: Fountain County, Indiana

What: Cash crops and beef cattle

DeSutter returned to his family farm after earning a degree and pursuing graduate studies in finance at Indiana University, then working as a financial analyst and commodity broker. He farms full-time, raising crops and grass-fed beef, and remains an active spokesman and advocate for conservation agriculture. For the past decade, he has also been a leader in cover cropping, planting 2,000 to 2,500 acres of cover crops annually as part of the approach he calls “bio-till” to emphasize his commitment to a healthy soil ecosystem. He has hosted a Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) Conservation In Action Tour on his 4,300-acre operation, much of which he has no-tilled for 20 years.

In February 2014, DeSutter participated in the National Cover Crop Conference. He opened the conference as part of a session with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller; Howard G. Buffett, of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation; and Ray Gaesser, an Iowa farmer and president of the American Soybean Association. Participating farmers included DeSutter (Indiana), Dave Brandt (Ohio), Clay Mitchell (Iowa) and Gabe Brown (North Dakota). Watch a recording of opening sessions.

In fall of 2014, Dan was awarded a prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship, which recently supported him on a month-long agricultural study tour in New Zealand and Australia.  Dan focused his time on meeting with farmers, ranchers, soil scientists, and farm leaders who are committed to soil health, either in their own operations or supporting broader efforts on this topic. He blogged about his experience and you can read about it here.