“Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folks may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine for example, one need only be neither a god nor poet; one need only own a good shovel.”- Aldo Leopoldo
As I considered promoting farmers to nominate themselves, or others, for the Leopoldo Conservation Award I was struck with some reluctance as farmers are experiencing some of the most uncertain and difficult times in decades. I didn’t know if it was the right time to be pushing conservation. As I pondered this thought for several days, a thought hit me.
Conservation is not all about cost, it’s really about long-term profitability and sustainability.
Across the state of Wisconsin we have so many great farmers that are highly engaged in conservation not only on their own farms, they work with other networks of farmers through great programs like Discovery Farms and the Producer-led Watershed groups that have proven to be extremely effective. These programs, and the farmers who are part of them, serve as great examples of conservation that need to be celebrated and emulated.
As a farmer myself, I also keenly understand that it is not during though times that conservation may be compromised. It is often in good times that there is an incentive to pull marginal land into production. During tough times, we continue to see conservation practices such as nutrient management, no-till, cover crops, grassed waterways and more continue to be utilized. Farmers continue their part not only to produce food, fiber and energy, but they also build and maintain soil, water and air quality and wildlife habitat.
Farmers are constantly improvising and finding new methods of improving their conservation practices. Just take some time to attend a Discovery Farms program or join a Producer-led Watershed Group near you and you will be surprised at the level of innovation being practiced and discussed.
Dedication to conversation is something that should be celebrated. I am humbled to be a past recipient of the Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award. The deadline for the 2020 award is quickly approaching on August 1.
Please consider applying yourself or nominating someone for this very prestigious award. Wisconsin Farm Bureau is proud to be one of the supporting organizations for the Leopold Award presented by the Sand County Foundation. This is an opportunity for us, as farmers, to show our dedication to conservation through the good times and the bad.
“Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” – Aldo Leopold