All farms and ranches, regardless of their size or their market, play a role in protecting our natural resources. Producers of local foods are no exception. NRCS helps Texas producers enhance their resource stewardship while producing food for local or larger markets. Learn more about how Texas farmers and ranchers are putting these stewardship projects work on the ground:
Through his roadside vegetable stand and "open gate" policy, Randy Gully was introducing west Texans to his farm and his food, long before the USDA launched their Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative in 2009. If there is one thing that makes his operation standout amongst the rest, it is his desire to show the world of agriculture to as many people as possible.
Akram Mohammad credits assistance he received from the NRCS with helping his 10,000-tree pecan business survive the worst single-year drought in the state's history. Thanks to an underground micro-irrigation system, Arrowhead Farms, can continue to produce several varieties of pecans while using water more efficiently.
Interested in growing organic produce, Saul and Diana Padilla started a small, family garden when they moved to Harlingen in 2004. They soon realized the need and demand for specialty farm products in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Since starting their small garden in 2004, the Padilla family has now expanded their garden into a three acre farm consisting of all-natural, organic produce. They have also joined the farmer's market in Brownsville and Harlingen, TX where they sell all of their produce every week.
Sand Creek Farm in Milam County produces raw milk, a variety of raw milk cheeses, grass-fed beef, yogurt, jams, honey, soy-free pork and chickens, and cage-free eggs that are sold to the public. After starting their farm in 2007, farm owners Ben and Alysha Godfrey worked with the local USDA-NRCS to help increase productivity on their operation. As a result, they have seen marketability expand from Milam County and its surrounding communities to larger markets, including Austin, Waco, Bryan, College Station, and north Houston.
Tree Grace Farms in Lubbock, Texas is growing in popularity for the fresh and healthy produce and student educational opportunities provided to city and rural residents.
Known for specializing in organic fruit and vegetables within the city limits, Tree Grace is a unique farming and gardening business where families can visit the farm and harvest their own fresh produce. Farm owner Lillian Chou said conservation has become the mainstay of their operation.