Five generations after his ancestors busted the sod on the plains of Kansas, Justin Knopf is rebuilding it.
Farmers across America are dealing with soil loss, fertilizer runoff, and increasingly tough weeds. Knopf has a novel solution: Roots. Roots catch and hold fertilizer, water, and earth. They also pull carbon out of the atmosphere, storing it in the ground.
So Knopf never tills his land, because it leads to dirty runoff and releases greenhouse gases. Instead, he experiments with different mixes of cover crops that build up roots to protect and enrich the soil.