By Ron Francis, NRCS Public Affairs Specialist, Salt Lake City, Utah; 801-524-4557;
firstname.lastname@example.org; October 31, 2007
Bob Barry farms nearly 5,000 acres of land in two states near the small Southeastern Utah border town of Eastland on the Colorado state line. He grows dry land Winter Wheat, Safflower, Pinto Beans, and Alfalfa. He has a good number of CRP acres under contract and has developed a number of wildlife habitat improvements that benefit wild turkeys and the Gunnison Sage Grouse.
He and his son, Alan, have achieved success in the organic Safflower business. Their premium seeds receive up to a 50% price increase for use in making organic cooking oils. Special conservation and tillage practices are necessary to control weeds and insects, but they are able to use their conventional Wheat production equipment for the Safflower crop. They are currently exploring the possibility of producing organic beef with their other feed crops that can be grown organically.
Bob has been involved with farming in the Monticello area for 30 years, he grew up helping on his family farm and later took over management and operation. He has tried to implement new and innovative farm technologies as they have been introduced. Bob studied agriculture at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. He has participated in many research trials involving alternate crops, new variety trials of existing crops, herbicide trials, and trials for no till agriculture. Bob has worked closely on a number of trials with the Yellow Jacket Research Station in Colorado. Many of these trials have been disappointing, but have given Bob valuable experience and knowledge. Over the years he has implemented residue management practices, terrace systems, and enrolled in the Conservation Security Program, Conservation Reserve Program, as well as the ACP, LTA, ARDL, AMA, and EQIP programs. He is always trying to improve his production, soil, and soil moisture.
Bob has been active in the conservation movement his entire adult life. He has served on the San Juan SCD board for 25 years, of which 20 have been as chairman. He has also been a Zone Director for 12 years with the Utah Association of Conservation Districts (UACD). During his tenure Bob has served on the State Soil Conservation Board as a Conservation Commissioner and worked closely with several Utah Agriculture Commissioners. Bob is an avid supporter and force behind many programs such as the Utah Envirothon competition for high school students. They are currently working to involve American Indian students from high schools in the Navajo Nation that reside within Zone Seven. He works closely with the NRCS on a local and state level, and currently serves on the Farm Serve Agency County Committee.
One of Bob’s fondest memories is the State UACD tour held in Monticello. It was an opportunity to show the rest of the state what was happening in San Juan County along with meeting most of the SCD officials from through out the state. Bob’s work with organics was recently featured on an Innovative Conservationists DVD that was shown at the UACD annual meeting.
Over the years Bob has become very concerned about the stability of agriculture. He is experiencing first hand the significant problems that are brought on by prolonged drought, limited production, land values, and poor commodity prices. He has spent many hours working with federal, state, and county leaders working on possible solutions and projects that might relieve the plight of the American farmer.