Robert Dasher was named Georgia Farmer of the Year in 2009. But, earning that coveted title did not happen overnight. It has taken decades for Robert Dasher to reach this point.
Dasher has been farming all his life. He said that when he was as young as 10 years old, he can remember working his family’s land. “I pulled weeds. I irrigated. I did it all.” At that time Dasher’s father only owned about 110 acres of land and farmed onions and tobacco.
When Robert Dasher was just 19 years old, his father passed away and he took over the family farm.
Now 58, Dasher has grown his inheritance of a few acres into a several thousand that span Tattnall and Long Counties. Over the years, while he and relatives have worked to build up the family business, Dasher remained focused on meeting his conservation goals.
Dasher said, “Farming is a minute to minute operation. Weather plays a vital role in that. You’ve got these problems. The key thing in farming is how fast you react to the problems.”
Dasher has wasted no time when it comes to addressing problems on G & R Farms.
The Tattnall County operation has been fighting several resource conservation issues including soil erosion, water conservation and energy conservation.
Robert Dasher contacted his local field office in Reidsville for assistance with conservation. Dashed had previous knowledge of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and assistance it provides to farmers. Soil Conservation Technician, Clay DeLoach worked with Dasher to develop a conservation plan.
Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Dasher implemented a plan on his property.
Dasher converted from a diesel-fuel operated irrigation system to an electric irrigation system. Electric irrigation pumps conserve more energy.
The center pivot irrigation system on Dasher’s farm was retro-fitted to low pressure, which works to conserve water during irrigation.
“You don’t get near the evaporation or waste water with the low pressure pivots,” Dasher explained. He was a little skeptical in the beginning that the low pressure pivots would work.
To limit soil erosion on certain parts of the G & R Farms property, grass was planted on different sections of the farm.
Dasher said that if it had not been for the financial and technical assistance provided through the NRCS, conserving natural resources on his property would have taken a lot more time.
Dasher advised that any farmer or landowner should reach out to agencies like NRCS if they need assistance on their land, “If you solicit help, they will help you.”