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.
�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:
The Barkers epitomizes the word �conservationist� and exemplify land stewardship, and are proud of their natural resource and environmental achievements.