As an NACD Soil Health Champion, Brad Ritter preserves the soil on the 1,000-acre family farm. Regenerative agricultural practices such as cover crops, no-till and strip-till improve his soil health and bottom line. Building organic matter in sandy soils can be a challenge, Ritter told NACD, “We are getting there, but it’s a lot of investment of time and effort. In the end, we feel it is worth the effort.”
Farming near the Delaware beaches is also challenging because pressure from developers threatens to turn agricultural land into communities. Since 2000 the population of Sussex County has exploded with much of the growth occurring on the eastern side of the county.
With that being said, you’re never very far from the water when you're in Sussex County. Regenerative practices improve not only the soil but also nearby waterways; Ritters’ farm is situated less than five miles from the Rehoboth Bay, part of the Inland Bays watershed.
In addition, Ritter was honored as a University of Delaware (UD) 2020 Friend of Extension. Since the 1970s, the Ritter family has been involved with UD Extension, providing opportunities for on-farm research to guide crop production recommendations.