Cicero, IN (August 2019) – As concern grows in our communities regarding water quality, there are farmers utilizing conservation practices that are making a difference. The practices they have implemented, often voluntarily, are protecting waterways and water quality in Indiana and beyond. Amy Jo Farmer (yes that is her real name) in Hamilton County is one of those farmers and she is one of the 47 farmers who received the statewide award of ‘River Friendly Farmer’ at the Indiana State Fair on Farmers’ Day, August 14. This award, hosted by the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD), recognizes landowners and farmers in the state of Indiana for the work they do on their land to protect Indiana’s natural resources. Amy Jo Farmer was nominated by the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Indiana Lieutenant Governor, Suzanne Crouch, and President of Indiana Farm Bureau, Randy Kron, presented each recipient with an award certificate and ribbon. Amie Simpson, Brownfield Ag News, emceed the ceremony with Jerry Raynor, Indiana State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and IASWCD President, Roger Wenning making brief remarks.
Some of the reasons Amy was nominated for this recognition are the many conservation practices she has installed on her farm, such as:
The deep roots of tall native grasses and alfalfa on the farm provide pollution barriers to filter out potential nutrients and sediment in storm water run-off. The use of various conservation practices enable organic matter to return to the soil. In return, the lively soil supports a blossoming diversity of plants, insects and wildlife, contributing to the natural food chain, and creating beauty in the landscape. Native flowers contribute nectar for the bees, and bee products benefit humans. Season extension is made possible by the high tunnel, which gives local residents a chance to consume fresh produce year round.
Water that potentially contains sediment and nutrient run-off from nearby properties drains through the farm and is filtered by the CRP barrier around the perimeter. Runoff water is detained by the grassed waterway so that it can drain in a slower and more sustainable time frame, taking less soil and debris with it as it enters the regulated drain and goes to the reservoir.
Amy raises heritage hogs, dairy goats, hens and honey bees, and some of the breeds are on the Livestock Conservancy's conservation watch-list. Raising honey bees contributes to plant pollination in the surrounding environment, not just on the farm. Feeding livestock organic grain reduces the use of treated products and potential environmental contaminants. Feeding livestock farm raised organic hay, reduces hay transportation pollution as well as reduces the use of outside inputs. Small herd size helps to meet food self-sufficiency and personal food responsibility goals. Rotational grazing helps to mitigate potential ground erosion.
The fresh and nutritious products Amy provides to the community include certified organic hay for homesteaders, meat producers, and animal keepers of many kinds. Her honey bee products and certified organic produce is also available at a roadside stand. The farm further benefits the community by paying strong young workers good money for the hard work of baling hay. Amy also hosts farm site visits for local youth and adults who are curious or interested in conservation and agriculture.
The River Friendly Farmer Award has been presented by the IASWCD and sponsored by the 92 local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. since 2000. This year’s group of award winners brings the total number of River Friendly Farmers in Indiana since the awards beginning to 1008.
For a complete list of this year’s winners along with a short bio and photo (if provided), go to: http://iaswcd.org/river-friendly-farmer-award/.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.