Son of a sharecropper and lifetime farmer, Dale Strickler has lived his life by the soil. Strickler grew up in an impoverished area near the Ozarks in the U.S. Midwest, where he says he watched as the crops on his family farm died from drought and as the topsoil washed away from tilled fields.
“If I could change that soil, I could change everything,” Strickler told Mongabay. “And so that was kind of a goal under which I set forth … and I’ve maintained to this day.”
Strickler dedicated his life to learning about soil. He attended Kansas State University, achieved a master’s degree in agronomy, taught agronomy for 15 years, ran his own farm, visited farmers around the world, and now works throughout the Midwest and beyond helping people restore their soil and better manage their farms and pastures. He is the author of three books including Managing Pasture, The Drought-Resilient Farm and The Complete Guide to Restoring Your Soil.
His newest book, The Complete Guide to Restoring Your Soil, published on Oct. 27, is his reader-friendly magnum opus, covering why we should restore soil, what ideal soil looks like, practices that build better soil — such as farming without tillage (mechanically breaking the soil) and using cover crops — practices to remedy contaminated soil, and how to build better agricultural systems.