The Gwinn Family Loves to Farm
The Gwinn Family Loves to Farm
The Gwinn Brothers are Suwannee County farmers that practice what NRCS promotes - good conservation! By by working with their local NRCS DistrictConservationist Chris Menhennett (left in photo) and following the NRCS developed conservation plan for their 1,137 acre farm, the Gwinn Brothers have been able to improve water quality, enhance water quantity, reduce soil erosion, improve animal and plant health, and enhance wildlife habitat on their farm. Robert and Donell Gwinn (Donell - right in photo) are brothers who have been farming together under the entity known as Gwinn Brothers Farm for over 25 years. The Gwinn Brothers are highly esteemed, well respected farmers throughout the farming communities of Florida and South Georgia. Crops produced by the Gwinn Brothers include watermelons, peanuts, iron clay peas, bahiagrass seed, hay, and beef cattle. They operate a packing house in McAlpin, FL during watermelon season where they employ mostly high school students needing summer employment. Their watermelons are enjoyed both locally and throughout the eastern United States.
By utilizing cover crops and herbaceous wind barriers, they are able to conserve many tons of soil by protecting it from wind erosion that is so prevalent in North Florida during the early spring. NRCS Practice Code 645 – Upland Wildlife Habitat Management, helps the Gwinn Brothers improve and enhance wildlife habitat on their farm. By following their NRCS developed nutrient and pest management plans, they work to protect and improve water quality. They just recently participated in an Irrigation Retrofit Initiative through EQIP to increase the application efficiency and distribution uniformity of their irrigation systems, all in an effort to conserve water.
Along with their row crop farming operation, the Gwinn Brothers manage a 70 head beef cattle operation. They follow an NRCS developed prescribed grazing plan to assist with this effort, which helps them improve animal and plant health on their farm. Here again, through their efforts to conserve soil and water on cropland, improve wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and implement prescribed grazing practices on pastureland, the Gwinn Brothers prove they are trying to implement the best possible conservation practices on their farm.
In addition, the Gwinn Brothers recently embraced and implemented the new technology of precision agriculture on their farm to take their farm management to a new level. They installed GPS systems in several of their tractors. The GPS systems are used for precision planting, precision nutrient application, and precision pesticide application. This addition has helped them save thousands of dollars in fertilizer and pesticide costs, while adding tremendous environmental benefits, especially to water quality.
Conservation to the Gwinn Brothers is more than an idea; it is a way of life! Good conservation has been paramount to their farming success. They attribute good conservation as a key factor in enabling them to enjoy the quality of life associated with doing what they love to do – FARM!