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J.D. Jacobs Jr. Receives 2011 Outstanding Farmer Distinguished Service Award

story by Michael Brooks, NRCS District Conservationist

For more than 50 years, hard work and a love for farming have been the life for J. D. Jacobs Jr., a row crop, small grains, and livestock manager with operations in Rockwall and Kaufman Counties, Texas. Jacobs and his wife Ollie have raised three children and have four grandchildren.

The Texas Chapter of the National Organization of Professional Black Natural Resources Conservation Service Employees (NOPBNRCSE) recently honored Jacobs with the 2011 Outstanding Farmer Distinguished Service award at their annual conference in Prairie View, Texas. This annual award is given to individuals who display leadership in conservation, land management, and community service. Jacobs has employed these qualities his entire life, and can remember his grandparents working cropland in Rockwall County as share croppers for fifty cents per day. After years of hard work and perseverance, he later purchased the same land that his grandparents share cropped. Jacobs started out farming with 46 acres of cropland, and now operates approximately 7,500 acres of row crops, small grains, and pastureland.

As a farmer in the Texas Backlands, Jacobs' primary crops are wheat, cotton, corn, milo, and soybeans. He prides himself as a self sufficient and totally independent operation. His operation has grain bins on-site and a fleet of 18-wheelers under the name of Jacobs Transportation, which has allowed him to haul and store crops independently. Additionally, Jacobs' farm machinery is precision agriculture equipped;, this technology allows him to apply pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers more efficiently utilizing GPS satellites as a guide.

Jacobs is a Rockwall-based farmer/rancher with many talents and job responsibilities. He is a bulldozer contractor and has installed several conservation practices for local ranches and farms in Rockwall and Kaufman Counties. He has contracted out work on conservation practices that include brush management, ponds for livestock, grade stabilization structures, terraces, and waterways to name a few. Along with being a conservation contractor, Jacobs has worked with the local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and has also been a participant under USDA conservation contracts. Over the years, he has installed terraces on cropland and grassed waterways under the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Recently, he became a participant under the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which is a voluntary program that provides payments to landowners with excellent stewardship by motivating them to develop additional enhancements on their property.

Moreover, Jacobs prides himself as a country music guitarist, and has played sessions with the famed Charlie Pride. He will sometimes host local cook outs and band concerts at his farm headquarters for neighbors, family, and friends. As a member of several professional organizations, Jacobs does not shy away from leadership for conservation and agribusiness. He has served on the Farm Service Agency Committee in Kaufman and Rockwall Counties for 19 years. Currently, he is a board member on the National Black Growers Council as recommended by Pearlie Reed prior to him being appointed USDA's Secretary for Administration in Washington, D.C. Texas Governor Rick Perry recognized his leadership abilities and appointed him as active director for the Sabine River Authority.

Michael Brooks presents NRCS award Jacob Farms Waterway

J. D. Jacobs Jr. (right), a farmer/rancher based in Rockwall, Texas, was honored with the 2011 Outstanding Framer Distinguished Award by the Texas Chapter of the National Organization of Professional Black Natural Resources Conservation Employees. Michael Brooks, NRCS district conservationist in Tarrant County presents Jacobs with the award.

With approximately 7,500 acres of row crops, small grains, and pastureland with operations in Rockwall and Kaufman Counties, Jacobs has used NRCS conservation programs, such as this waterway, to help his land in Rockwall County.