The PA Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. Wednesday presented the operators of five farms with the Clean Water Farm Award during its annual conference in State College, PA.
The honor is awarded annually to farmers who manage their daily farm operations in an environmentally conscious manner that helps to protect Pennsylvania’s water quality.
This year’s award recipients are from Chester, Greene, Lawrence, Union, and York Counties. The 2016 Clean Water Farm Award recipients are:
-- Barclay Hoopes (Chester County): Barclay Hoopes owns a dairy farm in Landenberg, PA. The farm has 100 acres of cropland and 20 acres of pasture. The Hoopes property lies at the headwaters of a tributary to the wild and scenic White Clay Creek in Chester County. Best management practices (BMPs) installed on the farm include forested buffers and over 1,500 feet of fencing to exclude cattle. He has used no-till, cover crops, and contour strips for decades.
“The District commends the Hoopes Farm for its participation in the progressive analysis of BMPs and how they affect drinking water downstream,” said the Chester County Conservation District.
(Photo: PACD President Glenn Seidel, Acting Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell, C. Barclay Hoopes, Jr., Diana Hoopes, and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Greg Hostetter.)
-- James A. & Billie Cowell, Jr. of Frosty Springs Farm (Greene County): The Cowells own Frosty Springs Farm in Waynesburg, PA, which has 130 beef cattle, 170 acres of cropland, and 156 acres of pasture. BMPs installed on the farm include: rotational grazing, a heavy use area, and a manure storage system.
“The Frosty Springs Farm is a prime example of conservation at its best. The Cowell’s have been cooperators with the Greene County Conservation District since settling on the farm in 1978,” said the Greene County Conservation District.
-- Elder Farms – Loren & Darren Elder (Lawrence County): Loren and Darren Elder of Elder Farms in New Castle, PA, raise 75 beef cattle and 25 hair sheep. They farm 1,071 acres of cropland and 300 acres of pasture. BMPs installed on the farm include rotational grazing, a heavy use pad, and stream bank fencing.
“The Elder brothers firmly believe that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand…many of the conservation practices will continue to provide improved soil and animal health for future generations to enjoy,” said the Lawrence County Conservation District.
-- Allen & Linda Wehr Farm (Union County): Allen and Linda Wehr own 70 milking cows and 80 replacements with 156 acres of cropland and 30 acres of pasture in Mifflinburg, PA. BMPs installed on the farm include a roofed heavy use area, stream exclusion, and a forested buffer.
“The Wehr’s steadfast commitment to improving the environment and water quality is commendable,” said the Union County Conservation District.
-- Randall & Sarah Patterson (York County): Randall and Sarah Patterson own Circled Patterson Farm. They raise 20 beef cattle with 300 acres of cropland and 21 acres of pasture in Felton, PA. BMPs installed on the farm include no-till, a heavy use protection area, a vegetated treatment area, and a waste storage facility.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Randall and his family. Once he’s convinced that something is the right thing to do, he goes about it enthusiastically. He really cares about doing a good job. And he does a great job on his farm,” said Wendy Zwally, their longtime Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation planner.
The Clean Water Farm award was initiated in 1986. Recipients of the award are nominated by their local county conservation districts.
Financial support for this award is provided by the Department of Environmental Protection through the Chesapeake Bay Regulatory and Accountability Program and the Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Education Office administered by the PA Association of Conservation Districts, Inc.).For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the PA Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from PACD (right panel) and Like PACD on Facebook.