DE Association of Conservation Districts honors farmers
April 27, 2015 by Press release
April 27, 2015, Dover, DE – The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village was the setting for a recent Stewardship Week proclamation presentation of the annual Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Awards.
This year’s agricultural conservation award winners are:
George Whitehead, Whitehead Cattle Company, Townsend – In 1999, George purchased a small farm south of Townsend and started raising beef cows. By using conservation practices that can be implemented by any farmer looking to improve, conserve and protect soil and water resources on their land, Whitehead has brought many benefits to his land and livestock.
Pasture quality was improved through nutrient management, rotational grazing practices and drilling and seeding with New Castle Conservation District equipment. Water quality is protected through the following: proper nutrient management, fencing that creates a buffer between the cows and the creek, rain gutters on farm buildings to divert clean water away from manure areas and concrete heavy use area protection pads to prevent erosion during the collection of manure. He also installed livestock waterers and tile drains to improve pasture drainage.
To implement these conservation practices, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided $10,610.56 in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding and the New Castle Conservation District provided $17,236.36 in Cost Share Program funding. Whitehead also received technical assistance from the Delaware Cooperative Extension Service. He is a vocal proponent of working with Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and the district, hosting pasture walks on his farm to educate others about ways to improve their operation.
Jeremy Larimore, Em-Brook Farms, Harrington – Jeremy exemplifies a true steward of the land, managing four poultry houses and tilling around 450 acres to grow corn, soybeans, barley and wheat in the Green Branch Tax Ditch Watershed.
Larimore purchased his poultry operation in 2006 and began working with the Kent Conservation District (KCD) and NRCS to implement best management practices. These include: construction of a manure storage structure to contain manure after cleanout periods and prior to its spreading onto cropland; and an animal mortality facility to aid in the composting process; energy upgrades to his poultry houses to improve living conditions and minimize losses due to poor lighting, inadequate insulation and inefficient heaters. He installed concrete heavy-use area protection pads in front of the poultry houses and a composter to help contain manure during cleanout and reduce potential runoff. He also improved drainage along the farm lane for clean water runoff and installed a grass waterway to eliminate sediment before it enters the Green Branch Tax Ditch.
In addition, Larimore participates in the KCD Cover Crop program, cultivating multiple plant species such as wheat, barley and tillage radishes. When planted in the fall after harvest, these crops enhance soil and water quality and decrease nutrient leaching and runoff by tying up nutrients left in the soil from the previous crop, and when plowed under in the spring, releasing nutrients for use by the next crop. Cover crops also provide ground cover for the winter, which decreases the potential of soil loss by wind and water erosion.