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Cherokee County Success Stories

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Conservation Farming Through the Generations  

John Bennett Jr. of Bennett Farms in Cherokee County is a third generation “model” of conservation farming. His family has owned and operated their farm for approximately 100 years. It began with his grandfather who was a row cropper. Then his father took over the farm and began to convert from row cropping to pastures and poultry.

Bennett’s father first realized the value of utilizing assistance from federally sponsored programs to improve the quality of his land. His father received technical and financial assistance from USDA-NRCS to install drainage tiles in his pastures. The installation of this best management practice allowed more land to be utilized for his beef cattle grazing operation.

After John took over the farm, one of his main goals was to “preserve and improve the land for his grandchildren.” He has been actively involved with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for many years now. John has received technical and financial assistance from USDA-NRCS for fencing, heavy use areas, stream crossings, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, pest management and a poultry waste storage facility.

He has also been approved for assistance with an animal mortality incinerator, which he plans to start working on this winter. By installing an incinerator, he can dispose of dead bird carcasses in a timely manner, reduce the potential of soil contamination and improve air quality. When asked if he feels the EQIP program is meeting the needs of the farming community, he replied, “Yes, it’s a very good program that gives a lot of encouragement in today’s economy.” Bennett also stated, “The local NRCS people have been very helpful, and I’m pleased to be working with such a good group.”

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