Almost 30 years ago, I had just joined the division of Monsanto called Monsanto Agricultural Products Company. It was one of six divisions of the corporate entity, the other five relating to various aspects of the chemical business. At the time, the agricultural products division’s major products were Lasso and Roundup herbicides.
One of my responsibilities was to work with agricultural trade associations. I went wandering into the worlds of the corn growers, soybean growers, wheat growers, farm youth organizations like FFA and 4-H, and numerous others.
A brand-new group had formed the previous year, and it was called the Conservation Tillage Information Center, or CTIC. I was asked to look into the group and see what support the company might provide. It aimed at promoting the growing practice – practices, actually – of conservation tillage. And I was introduced to a new vocabulary that included phrases like con till, no till and min till. The group was out to do some important stuff, and we signed on to support it.
CTIC today is the Conservation Technology Information Center. Its mission has grown beyond promoting sustainable tillage systems, to include championing, promoting and providing “information on technologies and sustainable agricultural systems that conserve and enhance soil, water, air and wildlife resources and are productive and profitable.” It hosts field days, conferences and symposia. It has numerous watershed and agricultural system initiatives. It helped form the Conservation Agriculture Systems Alliance and other initiatives. And (as its name implies) it provides information on conservation agriculture.
And sustainable agriculture practices have spread across North America as a result. Watersheds have been protected. Soil resources have been conserved and erosion reduced. Wildlife habitats have been protected. And a lot more.
This week, CTIC is celebrating its 30th birthday. There was a big party yesterday at Monsanto’s headquarters campus in St. Louis, but it wasn’t all celebration. Leave it to CTIC to celebrate a birthday with two panel discussions – one on “Looking Back at 30 Years of Conservation Agriculture” and one on “Looking Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities for Ag Conservation.” The program was sponsored by Syngenta, The Mosaic Company and Monsanto.
Happy birthday, CTIC. You do good work for agriculture.
Photographs courtesy of Conservation Technology Information Center.