Mark Nickolayou

Mark grew up on a family farm in east central Saskatchewan and even though he has spent most of his adult working life at other occupations, he feels that the farm has always been a part of him. His interests in soil, soil health and conservation became a factor when he realized that the acres he owned had been 'mined' instead of farmed. Now farming certainly has changed in his lifetime and many techniques being used in modern agriculture had helped those areas, but ultimately there seemed to be a lack of something, but before he passed judgement he wanted to try a few different techniques that were being utilized by other producers he knew personally. That's where the interest in using cover crops, keeping cover on the soil, and improving carbon levels really started. That 'style' of farming had existed for some time in several parts of the U.S. but it seemed there was a lack of data for Western Canada and, in particular, Saskatchewan. One of two ways to improve that was to start with one technique, implement, evaluate and try again, the other was to get involved with a producer group. Mark recommends the same for other producers and is hoping to bring awareness of soil health to all farmers in Saskatchewan no matter what category they are in and to just get involved. Recently he has taken to using covers and native perennials with urban landscape consultation and on vegetable garden plots east of Saskatoon to improve soil fertility, and a goal of reducing production inputs and tillage to zero. Mark joined the SSCA Board in 2016 and is currently serving as 1st Vice-President.