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Success Stories David and Vicky Barker - Conventional Dairy Farm | Maine

Success Stories: David and Vicky Barker - Conventional Dairy Farm | Maine Shared Top Border

October, 2007

David and Vicky Barker
Conventional Dairy Farm
Leeds, Maine/Androscoggin County
elaine.tremble@me.usda.gov / 207-990-9569

The Barkers.Barker Farm, Inc., a fifth-generation farm owned and operated by David and Vicky Barker, is a conventional dairy farm located in Leeds (Androscoggin County), Maine. They milk 110 Holstein dairy cattle and raise their own replacement animals. Vicky handles all aspects of the dairy herd, milking the animals daily and managing the herd health with assistance from David and their sons. David and his father handle the field work and all the maintenance issues that arise with managing 215 acres of high density grain corn and 175 acres of hay. The Barkers have done an exemplary job maintaining their land, water and animal resources in such a way as to have minimal detrimental impact on the environment.

The Barkers over the years have and continue to manage their land under conservation principles. They have participated in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to develop adequate waste storage facilities and heavy use areas, and are developing fences and improving the pastureland for the development of a rotational grazing system that will help protect a stream. They also maintain existing practices that were installed by his father with the assistance of the Soil Conservation Service.

Barker Farm.“Technical and financial assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service is essential to establish improved conservation measures,” said David Barker. “The technical assistance helps the farmers and landowners remain in compliance with the ever-changing laws and regulations pertaining to farming and land use activities. The escalating costs of fuel and feed have offset any gains in milk prices. This emphasizes the importance of cost-share assistance for the installation of conservation measures.”

The Barkers are currently working with the Cooperative Extension Service in developing forage harvest trials. They are also working with the Maine Department of Agriculture to produce corn pellets as an alternative fuel for heating the home.

Last winter the Barkers had a State of Maine Woodwise Forest Management Plan at the Stewardship level developed for the farm’s woodlands with an emphasis on wildlife habitat. They participated in the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) to relocate an access road away from a vernal pool area.

Some of the other accomplishments for the Barker’s are:

  • Hosted Maine Farm Days in the late 1990’s, and have volunteered to host again in 2009 and 2010. Farm Days provides an on-farm experience for visitors and a chance for farmers to learn the latest technology and see state-of-the art equipment. There is plenty of opportunity for farmers to gain new information about soil, irrigation, feed blends and fertilizers.
  • Chosen as the Cooperator of the Year in 1998 by the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District. The Barker family was previously awarded the Outstanding Cooperator Award at the transition of ownership from David’s grandfather to David’s father some years back.
  • A Conservation Security Program (CSP) recipient in 2006, receiving a 10-year contract in the Lower Androscoggin River Watershed. The Barkers hosted a CSP celebration for the recipients in that watershed.
  • David has earned and won the respect of the Androscoggin farming community. He goes out of his way to assist other farmers when there is a need, i.e., instrumental in finding ways to make a broken piece of equipment operate, sometimes building replacement parts.
  • Baker Farm.The Barkers epitomizes the word “conservationist” and exemplify land stewardship, and are proud of their natural resource and environmental achievements.


    Updated 01-18-08