William Barron purchased a 150-acre tract of cut-over timber ten years ago and has worked consistently toward his goal of turning this property into a productive cattle farm and a conservation-oriented farm as well. Even more significant is that he is doing it all without cost-share assistance.
Since purchasing the farm, Barron has worked closely with the Columbia County District and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He first developed a conservation plan with technical assistance from NRCS and then completed the clearing and land preparation for the hay and pasture areas.
Approximately 30 acres of Tift 44 was sprigged for the hay field and Tift 9 Bahia grass was planted for the pasture fields.
Several structural improvements have been completed. A large hay barn/machinery storage building is complete and now stores ample hay for this winter. The perimeter fencing is complete.
An NRCS designed 3-acre pond for watering has also been built.
Barron is also committed to protecting the farm pond and streams by installing conservation buffers and excluding cattle from the water bodies.
He also manages each pasture for grazing by using temporary fencing to create paddocks.
Because of his ongoing conservation work, the Columbia County Soil and Water Conservation District selected William Barron as the Conservationist of the Year in 2002.
More practices are planned for his farm. Among them are the installation of a corral system, prescribed grazing, cross fencing, installation of pipeline and water troughs with heavy use, nutrient and pest management, forage harvest management, and use exclusion and prescribed burning.