OPINION In this season of giving thanks we are grateful to our most important partners in implementing conservation – #OurFarmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is about supporting America’s farmers, ranchers and forest-land managers. It’s intended to help them better manage their operations while conserving natural resources.
Throughout the year we highlight stories of the amazing work those farmers are doing on their own land, and how we have been able to contribute to their success.
We are sharing a few of our favorites.
Lucy Doudlah, an organic farmer from Cooksville, Wisconsin, said, “We wouldn’t have been able to do cover crops on all our acres without the help of (the Natural Resources Conservation Service) or add monarch and pollinator habitat … (The Natural Resources Conservation Service) makes us feel good about doing the right thing for our land.”
“This program has been an absolute godsend for us here on the farm,” said Bill Renfroe, Air Force veteran and beginning farmer of Lovelock, Nevada. “It’s made my property much more productive, and I’m just so thankful there’s a program like this for beginning farmers. I couldn’t have done it without (the Natural Resources Conservation Service).”
Justin Knopf, fifth-generation farmer of Gypsum, Kansas, said, “One of the resources we think about regularly on our farm is human resources – and collaboration with other people. The collaboration we have with (the USDA’s Risk Management Agency), (the Farm Service Agency), and (the Natural Resources Conservation Service) is important to our team … These agency programs help us offset risks we face season-to-season as we deal with weather and markets out of our control.”
Martha Romero, owner of a 20-acre orchard near Somis, California, said, “We need to make a profit obviously, but for me I want to do it while protecting Mother Nature and precious resources like water. I can do this with (Natural Resources Conservation Service) help.”
Bob Sunderland, a dairy-farm owner from Bridport, Vermont, said, “For my family, farming and conservation go hand-in-hand … Our goal is to try and be good stewards of the land. The assistance that (the Natural Resources Conservation Service) offers encourages and makes that possible.”
Jan Johnson, owner of an organic produce and livestock farm near New Marlborough, Massachusetts, said, “There seems to be a can-do-it attitude that I’ve really appreciated (at the Natural Resources Conservation Service) … They’ve helped me through some big projects. I also appreciate the human aspect; I found them to be very easy to work with. We regard them as an important partner in the farm’s success.”