One great thing about my job is that I get to visit a lot of farms.
I have never seen a farm with such an impressive conservation effort as one I visited near Aberdeen, S.D., last week. The father and son (who I’m not going to identify yet because I hope to feature them in upcoming edition of the magazine) had purchased several farms along a river in Brown County and created a new unit that spans several thousand acres.
About 30% of the farm is enrolled in conservation programs of some type or another.
You can tell right away that something is different about the farm because they don’t farm right up to the highway ditch. They’ve left a big row of trees growing on the edge of the field and planted an equally big grass buffer behind it. The cornfield starts about 240 feet back from the ditch.
They’ve restored wetlands and planted buffer strips around most of the existing and new wetlands, too.
They’ve planted multiple rows of trees through their fields to provide pheasants with food and cover.
They’ve planted dozens of food plots among the corn and beans.
They/ve enrolled former cattle pastures along the river in a riparian/woodland program.
With all the land in conservation on their farm, they were able to create a sizable hunting preserve, which they lease to an outfitter who operates it.
“We are basically farming the best and conserving the rest,” says the father.
Watch your Dakota Farmer for feature on the farm and some of the interesting conservation projects they are doing.