For Dale Strickler, farming comes naturally, as does teaching. Having grown up tending cattle and driving a tractor on his family’s fields in Colony, Kansas, Strickler understands the prairie. He attended Kansas State University and received his bachelor and master’s degrees in agriculture and agronomy and lives in Belleville.
Strickler taught college classes and worked as an agronomist, all the while yearning to help farmers.
He said the idea for his first book, “The Drought Resilient Farm,” came in 2012 when he looked out and saw a contrast between two farms near his home.
“One field of corn was completely dead. One field of corn was completely normal,” he said. “It’s not just about how much rain you get, it’s how you manage the land.”
That year, during a drought, he saw the farmers who were no-tilling with high levels of residue were able to produce normal yields, but the farmers who were tilling and using conventional procedures had disastrous yields.
Two years ago, Storey Publishing published “The Drought Resilient Farm,” and last year they printed “Managing Pasture: A Complete Guide to Building Healthy Pasture for Grass-based Meat & Dairy Animals.”
Strickler’s third book, with the working title - “Soil Health Regeneration” - is scheduled for summer 2021.
“These books cover the whole gamut,” he said. “It’s something you read cover to cover.”
“The Drought Resilient Farmer“ contains information on creating moister-efficient soil and drought-tolerant pastures, as well as providing emergency forage techniques. ”Managing Pasture“ includes increasing production and profitability, selecting and managing pasture plants, water and fencing issues, increasing the ecosystem and working with a variety of animals and pollinators.
This easy-to-read-book shares anecdotes mixed with a lot of practical knowledge. The pages are beautifully laid out, many featuring pictures of specific plants and animals. Diagrams are also included.
One farmer told Strickler his “Managing Pasture” book was the first book he read cover-to-cover since “Green Eggs and Ham.”
“That was quite a complement,” Strickler said.