Nicholas Willis is a senior majoring in Biological System Engineering at the University of Nebraska. In Kansas, he worked on a dryland grain and livestock farm, where he managed hard red winter wheat, grain sorghum, sudangrass, oats, alfalfa, and cows and sheep. He believes that “the greatest reason to work towards a healthy agroecosystem is because a lot of costly problems of industrialized agriculture are taken care of naturally in a sustainable agriculture system.” Nicholas chose to participate in the Agrecology On-Farm Internship to experience what he had read about in many books. In addition, Nicholas would like to see farmers taking steps to capture a better price for their products.” Nicholas wishes to earn a doctoral degree, work into farm ownership, and be involved in political and community affairs.
During the internship, Nicholas worked on Cedar Meadow Farm, a no-tillage, cover-crop farm in Lancaster, PA. He learned about no-till, cover cropping, high-tunnel vegetable production, and vegetable marketing. Nicholas compared insect pest and beneficial populations on field-grown and high-tunnel tomatoes. Working with Edward C. Reybitz III, he sampled the pollinating insects and major weeds in rye-mulch, no-till pumpkin fields. They also measured soil moisture in field corn after brassica cover-crops for Dr. Ray Weil of the University of Maryland.