Michael Parrish of Polk County was recently named the Outstanding Forestry Conservationist at the Area IV Conservation Awards Banquet held recently in Jacksonville, Texas. Parrish was nominated by the Polk-San Jacinto Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Board.
In order to be nominated, a producer or rancher must be a district cooperator who has implemented conservation work on the land and has promoted conservation, along with the SWCDï¿½s program. Parrish, who had a commercial cattle operation on the ranch, began a shift in 2004 away from cattle and toward a more intense management of the timberland and its forest habitat.
He began working closely with the Polk-San Jacinto SWCD and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist, Ronald Harris, to determine which site preparation practices would be best-suited for lands once grazed by cattle. His interest was in educating himself about sustainable forestry and identifying best-management practices that would reduce pollution from non-point sources and protect wetlands, while trying to maintain and enhance wildlife habitat.
Parrish has acquired and converted over 150 additional acres into timber. He has converted over 170 acres of pastureland since planting the first loblolly pine seedlings in February of 2007. With help from NRCS and Polk-San Jacinto SWCD personnel, Parrishï¿½s plan is to continue looking for ways to improve his timber management, and continue his timberland expansion efforts into the future - adopting effective forestry practices that are economical and environmentally sound.
(From left to right) Jerry Nichols, TSSWCB member and chairman of the Nacogdoches County SWCD, Michael Parrish and Ronald Harris
At the Livingston NRCS field office (front row - from left to right) are Joel Clark, TSSWCB field representative; Carol Parrish and Michael Parrish; Benny Griffin, SWCD board member and Trig Cowart-SWCD board Secretary. (Back row- from left to right) Wright Baker, SWCD board chairman; Charles Dodd, SWCD board vice chairman; Anita Brogden-district technician and administrative assistant; Ronald Harris, NRCS and Josh David, SWCD board member, gathered.
Jerry Nichols, member and chairman of the Nacogdoches County SWCD, presented the Outstanding Forestry Conservationist award to Michael Parrish and his wife Carol Parrish.