Ronnach Day, Conway County district conservationist, and Barry McKuin and Joe Torian discuss the work done on Cadron Six Farms. (photo by Creston Shrum, NRCS Arkansas)
by Creston Shrum, NRCS Arkansas
The owners of Cadron Six Farms have turned their 800 acres of woodland and crop land into a “field of dreams” for themselves and the area’s wildlife.
“I like to see the wildlife flourish on our property and the environmental benefits resulting in our work are an added bonus,” said Barry McKuin, one of six owners of the farm.
Conservation work on the Conway County farm rewarded the owners with a Tier 3 Conservation Security Program contract on 406 acres of the property in 2005.
“Being rewarded for the work we’ve done allows us to implement more conservation practices,” McKuin said. “It’s a great feeling.”
“The program is great for business and great for the environment and has opened other doors for us now,” McKuin said.
“Two good things have come together to make a great thing. It is amazing how wildlife is flourishing while improving our crop production,” said Joe Torian, who manages the farming operation on more than 400 acres of the property.
Through a conservation plan developed in 2000, Cadron Six Farms installed more than a mile of underground pipe for irrigation, replaced three wells with one pump site on Cadron Creek, put in water control structures and levies to regulate irrigation waters for waterfowl and crops, and installed a recovery system that drains water back to the pump site.
Seventy acres of grassland and pine trees are also in the Conservation Reserve Program providing cover for wildlife. “We have deer, turkey, quail, dove, rabbits, squirrels and ducks using the property,” McKuin said.
Besides growing rice, soybeans and wheat for market, Torian also plants sunflowers and patches of soybeans for wildlife.
McKuin and Torian both feel the work they are doing is a win-win situation for themselves and the wildlife.
“We found if you build it, the wildlife will come. People just don’t realize how well these programs work,” Torian said.