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Golden Acres Go Green with NRCS Help

Golden Acres Go Green with NRCS Help

Jefferson County landowners Bobbie and Fred Golden recently installed a solar-powered watering system on their ranch. Their farm, Golden Acres, produces many agricultural products, including registered Miniature Fainting Goats, lamb and goat meat, Mayhaw jelly, farm fresh ‘natural’ eggs, and timber. Golden Acres Ranch was recognized by the North Florida Fair Association and the local Kiwanis’s Club as the 2010 Jefferson County Outstanding Farm Family. 

The family’s relationship with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) began in 2003, shortly after the Goldens began their ranching operation. 

“Back in 2003, we came to NRCS to make sure our goats and sheep would stay healthy without hurting the environment,” says Bobbie Golden.  “Since then, the local NRCS staff has been there to help us with many of our land management goals.”Golden Acres

Starting with the preparation of a conservation plan, NRCS provided the technical assistance the Goldens wanted.  Next, with financial assistance from the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP), the Goldens began implementing their planned conservation practices.   Since 2004, the Goldens have built interior cross fences, prescribe burned woodland areas, planted several types of forages for their grazing animals, and installed a solar-powered livestock watering system. 

“Doing the majority of the labor ourselves, has helped us to keep costs down,” according to Fred Golden.  “Our two sons even helped by installing the submersible pump and laying the pipeline for the watering system.”

Working with the Goldens has been good for NRCS, too. During a 2009 meeting of the Florida Meat Goat Association held on Golden Acres Ranch, I had a chance to describe NRCS’ programs to a group of 35 ranchers, some from as far away as Pensacola and Gainesville. The following week, one of the attendees stopped by the Jefferson County NRCS office for information and assistance.  The producer became eligible for USDA programs, participated in the conservation planning process and signed up for EQIP.  This year, cost shares were obligated for his project.

When asked what was liked most about working with NRCS, Bobbie Golden was quick to zero in on technical assistance.  “We really appreciated the technical advice that NRCS provided.  While the cost sharing helped, we really needed the direction provided by the NRCS staff.”

They continue to tell others about the benefits of working with NRCS.  “People see our success and they want to know how they can do it,” says Fred Golden.  “We tell them to go to the local NRCS office and see what’s available. Those guys really helped us.”  For more information about Bobbie and Fred Golden’s operation, visit their website:   www.goldenacresranchflorida.com. 

 

Last Modified 08/08/2012