Steve Stevens has a long history of learning from and working with researchers to improve farming. One of the more significant cotton seedbed-preparation innovations was first implemented in Arkansas on Stevens’ farm in the early 1990s. He was an early adopter of computerized-hole selection for irrigation and COTMAN (Cotton Management program), improving soil, water and insecticide use. Arkansas Discovery Farms selected Stevens’ fields for cotton research in 2013, and it has had more water-quality, water-use and nutrient-loss data collected on it than on any other farm in America. His contributions and commitment to improving farming have helped Arkansas generate millions of dollars using practices and technology developed on his farm. He served on the National Cotton Council Board and in leadership positions on the Cotton Inc. Board. In 2020, he was inducted into the Arkansas Conservation Hall of Fame.
Stevens learned working with Discovery Farm and installing soil moisture sensors, irrigation waters were not moving below six inches and cotton roots were not going deeper even with water stored at 18 inches. So, he started using cover crops like cereal rye, which opened the “soil profile” allowing cotton roots to extract water from 18 inches. Yields increased, especially in dry years, resulting in substantial profit gains.
Steve Stevens’ land has had more water-quality, water-use and nutrient-loss data collected than any other farm in America.