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Remembering Dave Brandt: A Leader in Sustainable Farming
Dave Brandt, an Ohio farmer who gained internet fame as part of a meme, passed away on Sunday at the age of 76 after sustaining injuries in a traffic crash in Illinois. Brandt was widely known in the sustainable farming community and received numerous awards for his conservation practices, including Ohio Agriculture’s Man of the Year and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. He also served as the former president of the Ohio No-Till Council.
Brandt was a pioneer in the world of sustainable farming and was known for his innovative farming practices. He began “no-till farming” in 1971, which involves planting cover crops like hairy vetch or cereal rye and fostering habitat for invertebrates to promote soil health. He was the longest-term, no-till farmer in Ohio, according to Understanding Ag, a sustainable farming consulting firm that he helped found.
In addition to traditional crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat, Brandt also raised pigs and cows, which he let forage outside during winter, rather than putting them up in a barn as most farmers do. This approach was part of his larger philosophy of conservation agriculture, which aimed to improve soil health and promote sustainable farming practices.
Brandt was a Marine Corps veteran who saw combat in Vietnam before returning home to take over the family farm in the early 1970s. As agriculture in the Midwest became increasingly mechanized and chemical-dependent, Brandt took a different approach. He was determined to educate farmers about the value of conservation agriculture, and how it would improve soil health.
Brandt hosted field days and talks about soil health for farmers and researchers from throughout Ohio and the U.S. He was also invited by the French agriculture ministry to spend a week touring France and speaking with farmers there about his methods. His tireless efforts to promote sustainable farming practices earned him the nickname “godfather of soil health.”
In the early 2010s, Brandt’s photograph was used in a widely-shared meme about farming on the social media site Reddit, with the words: “It ain’t much, but it’s honest work.” Users shared the meme with various sub-captions, like “When your teacher asks you why you have submitted only one paper of 20 paper(s).” Despite the meme’s humorous tone, Brandt was proud of the recognition it brought to his work and his passion for sustainable farming practices.
Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University associate professor who collaborated with Brandt on agricultural extension for 30 years, described Brandt as having an outgoing spirit, an infectious laugh, and a willingness to help anybody. He said that Brandt’s biggest challenge was changing the mindset of producers so they understand the soil they are working with. This challenge is still there, but Brandt’s legacy will continue to inspire sustainable farming practices for generations to come.
A private family service for Brandt will be held soon, and he will be memorialized at various field day events and conferences within the sustainable agriculture community in the coming weeks and months. His legacy as a leader in sustainable farming practices will continue to inspire and educate future generations of farmers.
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News Source : Peter Gill
Source Link :Dave Brandt, Ohio farmer in meme and no-till conservationist, has died/