By Tom Collins
The man they call Peter No-Till is stepping away from his job, but will still be involved in agriculture.
OMAFRA cereals specialist Peter Johnson is retiring on Feb. 4, exactly 30 years after he was first hired. The 58-year-old said he now meets the criteria to retire early, and is taking advantage of the chance.
“Theres an opportunity to get out,” he said. “Im also looking to duck out of all the administrative parts of my job. I have, for my entire career, just abhorred the paperwork part of it. Im young enough that I can still have some fun out there.”
Johnson whose nickname came from his strong support to get farmers to no-till their land said he will still be involved with farm conferences and research projects, and would still like to speak at as many events as possible.
Johnson used to own a 1,000-acre farm with his brother. But their wives didnt get along. So the brothers signed a contract in which Johnsons brother, Paisley, would sell his part of the farm to Peter and get a full-time job. Peter would become the full-time farmer. Two weeks later, Johnson was offered a job with OMAFRA. They reversed the contract, with Peter taking the full-time job and Paisley becoming the full-time farmer.
Now Johnson farms about 250 acres near Lucan, about 30 minutes north of London. He is looking to expand by another 50 acres so he can grow 100 acres each of corn, soybeans and wheat.
Johnsons retirement is not related to illness, as he has been prostate-cancer free for five years.