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Washington County Success Stories

Washington County Success Stories

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First Generation Farmer Creates Model Conservation Farm

Unlike many of Georgia’s top conservationists, Glenn Waller of Washington County didn’t grow up on a farm. “I’m the only one in this generation that farms,” he said. And unlike other farmers, Waller doesn’t do anything else. “He strictly farms,” said retired District Conservationist Byron Sanders.

Waller credited his interest in farming from working after school as a child on farms owned by his uncles who raised cows and hogs among other things. “I thought it (farming) would be a good thing to do over the years. My whole family believed in not letting the land wash away,” he said. Waller is a big fan of terraces. “I’ve been using them ever since I started farming in 1962.

Unlike many farmers who did not maintain their terraces, Waller did. He credits them with draining the fields during many downpours throughout the years. “It’s probably saved no telling how many millions of tons of topsoil.” “I’ve walked many thousand steps laying out terraces on this farm,” laughed Sanders.

Byron Sanders, retired District Conservationist, believes that the use of terraces improved Waller’s crop yields. “Glenn couldn’t have achieved the soybean top producer in the state in 2004 with missing topsoil,” Sanders said. Waller was also named Soil Conservationist of the Year in 1971. Conventional terraces follow the contour of the land. Parallel terraces are all the same distance apart and have tile beneath them so the runoff can all go to the same place.

Waller has both on his farm and keeps them properly maintained. He also uses no-till conservation on every crop he raises and is working with the University of Georgia on test plots to try and develop a solution for soybean rust. “Glenn is a true conservationist; all of the land he has is in terraces or no-till. There’s a lot to know about. It would take 2 or 3 college degrees to know what an experienced farmer would know. I see young farmers taking notes when Glenn is talking to them,” Sanders said.

Waller is a frequent host to school children and other young farmers and would like future generations to “know how to protect the soil and get somebody to show them how. If we’re going to grow enough food to feed the U.S., we’ve got to keep the topsoil on the land.” 

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