Dean Sponheim

Experimentation has always been a staple of Dean Sponheim’s cropping operation. Whether with machine modifications or nutrient management, the Nora Springs, Iowa, farmer is always looking to improve efficiency and productivity.

Strip-tilling since 1999, the self-described “accidental conservationist” added a new wrinkle to his system in 2008. Utilizing a method known as strip-cropping, Sponheim alternates 8 rows of strip-tilled soybeans with 8 rows of strip-tilled corn.

The results have shown about a 12-15% increase in corn yield and about an $80-$100 per acre increase in net income over more traditional cropping systems.

During a classroom session at the 2017 National Strip-Tillage Conference, Sponheim will break down the benefits and challenges of a strip-cropping system, to include incorporation of cover crops, fertilizer application and management strategies.

Registration is open for the 2017 event, at $234 per person and $214 for additional farm or family members, at

There are two hotel options — both connected directly to the conference center — providing special rates for conference attendees:

  • The host Embassy Suites Omaha-La Vista Hotel & Conference Center is holding a block of rooms for the conference at a special rate of $129 per night. You can make reservations by calling (402) 331-7400. When booking, mention code “NS8” to get the special rate.
  • Reservations can also be made at the Courtyard Omaha La Vista at a special rate of $109. You can make reservations by calling (402) 339-4900. Use the code “NSTC” to get the special rate.

Preliminary plans for the event include 7 general session speakers, 12 classrooms covering a range of strip-till topics, including cover cropping, precision farming practices and equipment modifications, and 26 roundtable discussions.

Stay tuned for more conference updates by visiting, and we’ll see you in Omaha!