The wheat output from his field was assessed 44 quintal per acre. He owns 10 acres divided between four family members including himself in Dhaamnod, Kasrawad block, Khargone. His eldest son Yogesh studies in class 10th, while daughter Tanushree is in 8th standard. "I have one tube well and one conventional well. Enough for the size of my field. Besides, three buffalos, two bulls and a cow are a great help. The bulls are still useful,” he adds.

Sharing his views about various dimensions of farming, Santosh Yadav informs that the labour skilled in farming is thinning out. “I have to perform many labour-intensive farm activities”, he says. "My soil health had deteriorated but timely testing was a great help. Deficiencies of potash and zinc have been removed. I have made it a practice not to use pesticides. Though not easy, but gradually zero-level can be achieved”, he says. Appreciating the Jai Kisan Crop Loan Waiver Scheme, he observes that all debt–ridden farmers in Kasravad now feel relieved. Their crop loans upto Rs. two lakh have been waived off, he says. “Last year I cultivated bitter gourd on less than one acre and earned Rs. 1.10 lakh at the rate of Rs. 20 to 30 per kg”, Yadav adds.

Another farmer, Shivlata Mehato, owns 4.5 acre out of total 10 acre in her family. The rest is owned by her husband and two sons. The eldest son Rishabh Mehato is pursuing MSc in Agriculture at RKDF College, Bhopal, while the younger son Arjun Mehato is doing computer science from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Government Polytechnic, Bhopal. She informs that Rishabh is deeply interested in farm machinery and can repair tractor engines. “Though they are free to pursue career of their interest, but we don't mind if they join us,” Shivlata says.

She continues: "I got the award for production of gram during 2017-18. The yield was assessed round 18 quintal per acre. The market rate of Rs. 4000 per quintal was a big relief. The biggest advantage is that my field is in Pathrota village, just 5 kilometre from Itarsi tehsil headquarters. It is a Gram Panchayat having a population about 3,000."My husband Sahab Lal helps me a lot in management of farm activities.”

Similarly, Kanchan Verma, who owns a sizeable land measuring 70 acre but divided into two families in Somalwada village in Itarsi, Hoshangabad, was awarded for record production of wheat in 2016- 17. The wheat output was assessed as 44 quintals per acre.

Verma has a piece of advice for other farmers regarding examination of soil. Soil testing is fruitful before every season and always avoidance of monoculture practice is advisable. "I got my soil tested and zinc deficiency was reported. So I got it treated accordingly before the start of sowing. The last year, we harvested beans on a larger area brought them to market at least one month before the season. Thus we got handsome price of Rs. 70 to 80 per kg”, she informs.

Sharing tips of profitable farming, Kanchan Verma says that farming requires alertness so that advance planning may be done. The simple thing to keep in mind is that always be in or around the field as you can't do well staying away from the fields, she says. Her family owns four tractors for different activities, besides five cows and two pairs of bulls.

Asked about the challenges, Kanchan informs that adverse weather conditions are the biggest threat. The challenge is time-management failing which results in a huge loss. She praises Chief Minister Kamal Nath's vision of transforming farming community into entrepreneurship saying that this is the only alternative in sight to enhance the income base. (IPA Service)