NRCS, National Cemetery Association Collaborate at Jefferson Barracks
On a day where caretakers dutifully trim the grass and care for the approximately 200,000 headstones marking the final resting place of veterans and their families, three plant specialists with the USDA’s NRCS begin work in the southeast portion of the national cemetery.
Chinese High Tunnel Part of Innovation at Missouri Teach Farm
Curtis Millsap estimates that he and his family, and a crew of interns, feed about 200 families on 2.5 acres of his 20-acre farm near Springfield. While another seven acres of the farm sometimes includes sheep, poultry and cattle, it’s the vegetable operation that supports Millsap, his wife Sarah and their nine young children. Millsap utilizes two greenhouses and three seasonal high tunnels to grow produce year-round, which he sells through the Farmers Market of the Ozarks and to 75-100 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) customers.
A 10-acre homestead near Raymore, where Jennifer and Alex Menzel live with their three young daughters – Emma, Ella and Eva – wasn’t enough to calm the farming urges of this couple. So in 2009 Alex and Jennifer purchased the first 160 acres of their farm northwest of Archie.
Back in 1993, when John Heckmann and his family purchased the first half of their 800-acre farm near Hermann, few would have guessed that it one day would be used as a showcase. But on June 2 it will be the site of the annual Missouri Tree Farm Conference, and Heckmann will be recognized as the Tree Farmer of the Year.
Bob Ridgley kneels in a sea of green cover crops and performs some mind mathematics. Some of the people in the group visiting his farm that day are not as well versed in livestock economics or math, so they just nod in agreement when Ridgley says the 32-acre paddock of forage radishes, forage turnips, cereal rye and cereal oats will feed 120 head of cattle for about $64 per day for a couple weeks in the fall and about a month in the spring, and that’s not bad.
When Ann Whitehead acquired 100 acres of agricultural land near Wellsville, it gave her the opportunity to fulfill her dream of raising cattle. Since then she has been taking advantage of technical and financial assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to ensure that the land will be productive for future generations of people who might share her dream.
Stanley Shoemaker watched the Bourbeuse River cut about 50 feet into the lower field of his Gasconade County farm during the 20 years that he has owned the farm. The streambank erosion bothered him, but he didn’t know how to affordably stop it.
Jim Hoene stood in a large equipment shed on the Jefferson County property along the Big River that he has been farming for 30 years. Torrents of rain beating on the tin roof caused him to speak loudly to be heard above the roar. A few years earlier in a similar situation he might have expressed concern about getting his crops in, and keeping those already planted from washing away. But he wasn’t worried this year.
Three decades ago, a livestock fence installer from central Missouri met with some farmers from New Zealand. Ideas were exchanged and now the fencer is a full-time rancher with 27 miles of fence dividing his Braunvieh cattle into paddocks for a successful rotational grazing system.
Military families know the drill. At the end of three or four years in one location, it's time to pack up the house and move on to another destination. Each move brings new opportunities, people to meet and places to discover. For Sarah Hoffman, founder of Green Dirt Farm, one constant in her life remained the same no matter the location: there was always a family farm to attend to.
The fancy door on Jim Prouphet's seasonal high tunnel wasn't included in the kit he purchased with funding he received from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). But, he does credit NRCS for helping him afford the rest of the structure that allows him an earlier start to his supplemental, subscription-farming business that supplies fresh produce to St. Louis-area families.
After more than 50 years of agricultural teaching and research, Fred Martz retired in 1997 and now focuses on a business he enjoyed all his life, farming. With 450 acres located on the outskirts of northeastern Columbia, Martz assists his son, Kevin, in tending to 150 cattle, 24 ewes, 50 lambs, 100 hens and one protective llama on a daily basis.
Missouri's edge-of-field monitoring system, now utilized by several states participating in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), is in place and capturing data on approximately 200 acres of resource-rich land in Missouri.
There won’t ever be a little house or anything else on Bill and Helen White’s prairie.
The Whites worked with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to place 118 acres of native prairie near Mount Vernon in a permanent easement under NRCS’ Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). In exchange for the easement, the Whites receive $1,125 per acre and retain ownership and use of the land.
EQIP Helps Hog Farmer Improve Efficiency of Animal Waste Handling
The improvements Marlin Meyer made to his Nodaway County hog operation weren’t to keep up with what the neighbors were doing. That’s because Meyer’s 600-sow farm at Ravenwood is the last sizable hog farm in the county.
Byron Miller may be retired from a 30-year career as a teacher and principal in Nodaway County, but he’s still educating. These days he uses his skills to spread what he believes is an important message: bounty begins with a bee.
The “Big Bad Wolf” jokes don’t bother the 10 people in the southern Missouri counties served by the Top of the Ozarks Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) office who received grants to construct straw-bale houses.
Anthony and Tom Westhues weren't very pleased in 2006 when they received a letter from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It informed them that a conservation compliance review of their farm near Glasgow revealed an excessive rate of soil erosion. The Westhues brothers were told that, by law, they would need to come up with a new plan to reduce erosion if they wanted to continue participating in USDA programs.
After spending 29 years in a forest-fire lookout tower, it would have been understandable if Lawrence Buchheit preferred seeing fewer trees after retiring in 2001 from his career with the Missouri Department of Conservation. But Buchheit keeps planting more trees.