We are celebrating an award for stewardship!
“If you take care of the land, it will take care of you,” spoken to Charles Graver by his grandfather in the 1950s. The commitment to good conservation practices was started at the Graver’s decades before it became the buzz word.
In Harrisburg on Friday, January 8, 2016 at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Angus Association the award for Stewardship Farm of the Year was given to Graver Farmstead, Bath, PA. The award is presented to a farm that follows good conservation practices.
Conservation at Graver Farmstead was underway many years ago. At the end of the 1940s, the Gravers had put in one of the first contour farming strips in Northampton County. Today, you will see many conservation practices in place. Another one of the firsts was no-till planting. This is when you do not disturb the ground but make a small groove and place the seed in the groove and cover it. The organic matter thrives with this practice. We still do no-till planting for our grass fields, both pasture and hay.
In the last 10 years, we have created stream bed buffers and fenced our beef animals out of the pond to protect the water. We created a spring development to provide water to the herd without them going into the pond. You can see the many grass swales we have in place to protect the land from storm water run-off. We use rotational grazing for our beef herd. This management strategy is used to maximize forage growth and encourage desirable plants and plant parts while allowing the pastures a rest period. Water lines bring water to our pastures for the herd.
Our nutra-management plans continue to provide guidance for the use of nutrients on the farm. We practice the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship – Economically, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Crop Nutrition. The 4Rs promote best management practices to achieve cropping system goals while minimizing field nutrient loss and maximizing crop uptake. The latest has been a manure management storage building to continue implementing good practices.
We are always reading and looking for new conservation information. Just of few of the organizations we use are: NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service), Penn State Extension Service and others.
The current generation, of Graver Farmstead farmers, is already working with the next generation of farmers to understand and continue this commitment as part of our legacy!
Thank you to the Pennsylvania Angus Association for this treasured award.