Every day, Georgia's farmers are implementing conservation practices on their land. Everyone receives benefits from these conservation practices--benefits such as clean water, healthy soil, abundant food, plentiful wildlife, and clean air.
From time to time we will be highlighting the conservation work that farmers are doing throughout the state by writing a short success story on their farm operation.
Below are the stories of selected farmers throughout the state. Check back often as we will be adding more.
If you want to view the available stories by county, please click below for a link to the success stories in alphabetical order along with a map of the state.
What do sheep, cattle and improved pastureland and water quality all have in common? For Polk County landowner David Jackson, they equal a successful farming operation, with help from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Urban farming is a growing trend in the Atlanta metropolitan area. For Fulton County landowner Arletha Dixon, it’s more than a trend – it’s a passion. Dixon’s history in agriculture began with her father’s educational studies in horticulture. Combined with her mother’s commitment to promoting good health as a physician, Dixon adopted her parents’ career paths and began teaching urban agriculture to children.
"I’ve been farming since I was knee-high to a duck," said Ballard. "I was raised on a farm in Southern Illinois. When I left home I said I wasn’t going to do this no more and now, we’re right back at it." Curtis Ballard was in the construction industry for many years. When he noticed a sudden change in the industry, he began farming. While Ballard’s 11-acre farm is located just steps away from the airport, in Riverdale, the view of his operation is far from urban.
After searching the Internet for programs to assist them, Casey Durden found the NRCS service center in Carrollton. The Durdens’ applied for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and received financial assistance to conduct a prescribed burn, for nutrient and pest management, forest stand improvement, riparian herbaceous cover and forest buffer, as well as tree establishment for a hardwood ecosystem. Tree tubes where used to accelerate the growth of young trees and provide efficient control of weeds.
Research conducted by Stanley Culpepper, extension agronomist, specializing in weed science and others, proved that rolling down rye into a thick mat to block out sunlight is highly effective in the reduction of pigweed seed germination in crop fields. Research also indicates that allowing the cover crop to mature until it blooms, gives the best results by providing an extended period of soil shading. Rye was chosen as the cover crop due to its chemical properties which discourages the "germination" and "growth" of other plants.
Statesboro farmer Morris Prince has saved energy, money, soil and time with the help of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.