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Farm Continues Reputation for Excellent Work and Stewardship of the Land

Web image: The Browns protect soil and water resources and save energy on their farm by installing a micro-irrigation water management system. Click image for full screen view
The Browns protect soil and water resources
and save energy on their farm by installing
a micro-irrigation water management system

Full screen view

Web image: Micro-irrigation allows for precision application of water, fertilizer and other crop needs directly to the root zone. Click image for full screen view
Micro-irrigation allows for precision application
of water, fertilizer and other crop needs directly
to the root zone

Full screen view

Along the banks of the Oak Orchard River in Orleans County is a farm steeped in the history of our country from its very beginning. After the British burned their farm and possessions in 1776 at the original farm in Connecticut, Elijah Brown eventually moved his family to the Oak Orchard River in 1804.

However, he died on the trip and his wife, Bathshua, and her 12 children were left to settle the farm in the wilderness. During the war of 1812, the same British captain who plundered their Connecticut farm was patrolling the coast of Lake Ontario and was captured on the banks of the Oak Orchard River. He was brought to Bathshua Brown, the Matriarch of the area, and, luckily for him, subsequently let go to sail away and not bother the river again.

Over the years, seven generations of Browns have operated the farm which today is known as Orchard Dale Fruit Farms and Brown’s Berry Patch. The Browns planted the first apple and fruit trees in the area, including what was once the world’s largest Quince orchard, and have built a long reputation for excellent work and stewardship of the land and environment. Recently they worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to protect soil and water resources and save energy on their farm by installing a micro-irrigation water management system. Financial and technical assistance was provided by NRCS through a 2008 Farm Bill conservation program known as Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA). This is a voluntary conservation program that helps farmers plan and install conservation practices to protect the environment.

The Orleans County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) encouraged the Browns in their efforts to be proactive stewards of the region’s air and water resources by assisting them to conduct an Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) assessment of their facilities. The assessment identified the opportunity to construct a micro-irrigation system for the new tree and berry plantings. Micro-irrigation allows for precision application of water, fertilizer and other crop needs directly to the root zone exactly when and where the plants need it most and in only the quantities the plant needs. Applying fertilizer this way allows them to use much less than would normally be required by broadcasting it on the surface. Less water and nutrients are needed as evaporation and leaching are minimized. Saving thousands of gallons of water also reduces or eliminates soil erosion problems usually associated with overhead sprinkler systems.

Orchard Dale Farms successfully applied for funding under the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Air Quality Initiative. With this they hired an irrigation design firm to plan and supervise construction of a facility that meets NRCS standards. They also developed an Irrigation Water Management Plan which monitors the environment to determine the plant’s needs based on seasonal rainfall, temperature, soil type and stages of plant growth. Guess work is replaced with exact scientific data and facts. The perfect growing conditions are maintained for the plant constantly, thus reducing stress on the plant and maximizing yields of the perfect produce the public demands.

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers to help plan and implement conservation practices to protect the environment while helping producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. If you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.

Media Contact: Public Affairs 315-477-6524