A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Resource Specialist
Every year the Conservation District organizes education days at all the local schools. We bring in the Game Commission, beekeepers, maple producers, farmers, and the like. We also do a station or two ourselves. Luckily, I often get to run one of the stations. It is the most fun I have all year. I love educating young people. I tweak my topic each time I do it, but the most basic stuff is always there. I try to bring it “home” for them. I would like to ask all of you the same thing I ask them, and really try to bring it “home” to you. What are the four things that we absolutely, positively must have to survive day in and day out? The younger kids usually get close to the right answers. I am sure there are some older folks that think cell phone, internet, cable TV and a car. You know the good stuff. My, how some of us have become “removed” from the important things that we absolutely MUST have. Have you guessed any of the four things yet?
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader, BCCD
If anyone was ever deserving of the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award, it is the Jackson family of Mt. Glen Farm in Springfield Township, Bradford County. And Pennsylvania agreed, as the Sand County Foundation and Pennsylvania sponsors recognized the Jackson family on January 10th at the PA Farm Show.
Some would describe this as a lifetime achievement award in agricultural conservation, but it is more. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding described it as a multi-generational achievement award. Dean and Rebecca would be quick to credit those who have invested in them and set the pace before them. They may not realize it, but now this duo is doing the same for us.
Last week I wrote about “prime” soils and development pressure on prime farmland here in Bradford County. This week I would like to look at the three required components of farmland preservation and how the community can get involved with this important program. Farmland Preservation requires municipalities, landowners, and funding.
To be eligible for the county Farmland Preservation program, farms must:
1) be part of an Agricultural Security Area (ASA)
2) contain at least 50% class I through IV soils, as defined by USDA-NRCS.
3) contain at least 50% harvested cropland, pasture or grazing lands
4) contain at least 50 contiguous acres OR over 10 acres and utilized for a crop unique to the area or contiguous to a property that already has a permanent conservation easement.
By: Amy Kneller, Agricultural Resource Specialist, BCCD
We are often asked “Why preserve farmland here when there isn’t development pressure to protect it from?” While Bradford County doesn’t have the visible development pressure of southeastern Pennsylvania, our areas of prime farmland are under pressure to be developed.
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader, Bradford County Conservation District
'Tis the Season for contemplation. Having just come through harvest and entering winter, the growing season pauses and cues us to do the same. The natural world silently screams for us to slow down. It is time to ask again the important questions like - who are we? and why are we? A good time for some solid business planning. Let's consider an often-overlooked opportunity you may way to bring into the picture - the one-tenth principle.
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader
The Bradford County Conservation District celebrated difference makers at its annual appreciation dinner Friday night at the Troy Sale Barn. Volunteers were appreciated, land managers recognized, projects highlighted, supporters thanked and advances simply celebrated.
We all could stand to improve our habit of celebrating both big and little successes.
Conservation Districts set up within county jurisdictions across the country are boards of local residents who help promote sound use of natural resources in the community. Bradford County has excelled since its humble 1956 inception. Partnerships with land managers and community members are what make the wheels turn.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag. Resource Specialist
It is that time of year again. For the very important, local people that bring food to your table, it is the time of year to be thinking about how I am going to manage, and even improve, my field health through the winter months. (This goes for gardens too). Typically, we have given our fields a rest for the winter. Sounds like a good idea, right? Everything needs a rest. Well, in this case, a rest is basically the starvation of the very soil life that we need to help us grow food. Look up any kind of article or research on soil health. Two of the things that good soil health requires are to always keep it covered and have a living root in the ground. Soil biology feeds off living roots. Take away the root, take away the food. Take away the food, everything dies. You are left with the D word (dirt- which is not even a word in most soil professions). Why do we want a field to work for us 4-5 months out of the year and against us 7-8 months of the year? It just doesn’t make any sense. Read some articles from other parts of the country. They will tell you that they couldn’t make a living on one crop per year. They need multiple crops per year. It would help us an awful lot here too. How do we do this? Cover crops.
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader
We all know that perfection is the enemy of progress. How many times does that project around the house get stalled because you are waiting for everything to line up just right? I have always admired my dad, a life-long farmer, for his ability to get things done. I have affectionately joked that I may know how to get things done right, but my dad knows how to get things done! Progress. Farmers have never had the luxury of perfection. They have to feed the world.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District