No-Till Legend and founder of Martin Industries, Howard Martin, passed away on Feb. 29, 2024 at the age of 79. He is credited with patenting the first ground-driven rotary row cleaner in 1988.

Services will be Sunday March 3, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. at the Martin Home Place, 895 Chester Martin Lane Elkton, KY 42220. Visitation will be Saturday March 2, 2024 at the Martin Home Place from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until the funeral hour at 2:00 p.m. at the Home place. Burial will follow in the Glenwood Cemetery on North Main St. Elkton, KY.

An Elkton, Ky., native, Howard was considered a renaissance man in the sense that he was a farmer, inventor and manufacturer all in one. He first tried no-till farming in the early 1970s and eventually came up with his row cleaner invention because he wasn’t satisfied with the equipment that was available for the practice at the time. 

A study done by Iowa State University about the correlation between crop residue and soil temperature made Howard want to find a better way to do things in a no-till system. Howard knew if he could find a way to push the residue aside and help the soil dry faster, he could raise the soil temperature and improve stands.

In the winter of 1983, he started working on what is now known as the Martin Row Cleaner. In the spring of 1984, he successfully tested his new invention and began manufacturing the row cleaners in 1991. Only one year later, he was supplying equipment to farmers across more than a dozen U.S. states.

Long after his invention took off, Martin  was still devoted to helping no-tillers around the world become more successful. Here’s a Q&A article he did with No-Till Farmer in December 2000 to help no-tillers address what he considered to be the 9 toughest and most common no-till corn planting problems.