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2009 Environmental Stewardship Award Winner

Region II: Greenview Polled Hereford Farms, Inc., Screven, Ga.

Jonathan (Jonny) Harris and Family - Nominated by Georgia Cattlemen’s Association  

Georgia Family Farm Wins Regional Environmental Award

 

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Greenview Farms Inc., of Screven, GA., is a 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award winner.  Representing NCBA Region II, the Southeast, the family was recognized at the 2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference for their dedication and commitment to preserving natural resources.

Jonathan (Jonny) and his wife Toni Harris, are fifth generation farmers, assisted by their son, Paul Harris.  The Harris family first began farming in 1860 in Wayne County, and now operates on 2,800 acres of land divided between pastures, cultivated land and timber.  Greenview Farms is a family-run operation that consists of 1,000 head of Hereford and Braford cattle.  In addition to livestock, the family raises hay, haylage, cotton, corn, peanuts, pecans, soybeans, vegetables, annual forages and timber.

"The Harris family exhibits tremendous stewardship with regard to pasture management, forage preservation, crop implementation and water quality improvement,” explained Dave Petty, chairman of the selection committee. "They‘ve taken a whole-farm approach to manage the resources in their care by developing sustainable stewardship and conservation goals and objectives.”

The Environmental Stewardship Award – now in its 19th year – is an initiative of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, with funding from Dow AgroSciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

“Sustainability of this farm began generations ago as the family moved through one century conserving and preserving the land, water, and natural resources,” explained Rita Barrow, field conservationist with the Georgia NRCS.  To that effort, the Harris’ have implemented a number of practices aimed at protecting and improving the land upon which they make a living. These include:

  • Practice crop rotation followed by plantings of nitrogen-building legumes such as lupine and runner peanuts since the 1940s.
  • Participate in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program – practice and include a manure storage facility, heavy use area protection, fencing wetlands, pasture and hay planting, wells for livestock water, conservation tillage, and thinning and prescribe burning pine stands to promote forest health and improve wildlife habitat
  • Implemented prescribed burning through the Southern Pine Beetle Initiative and funding for preparation of a Forest Stewardship Plan through the Forest Stewardship Program
  • Planted field borders and riparian zones with trees and grass to reduce soil erosion
  • Planted longleaf pine, part of a declining ecosystem that is often associated with many endangered plant and animal species

Greenview Farms Inc., was nominated by the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, with which the family has partnered to hosted tours.  In addition, the Harris’ have partnered with the USDA – NRCS; University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Georgia Forestry Commission; American Hereford Association; the Satilla Soil and Water Conservation District; hosted local 4-H and FFA youth; and university students from across the Southeast.

"Conservation, stewardship and agriculture production go hand-in-hand with the Harris family and have been passed down from generation to generation,” explains Petty.  “Their commitment and dedication to the environment make them worthy of this award.”

The Environmental Stewardship Award has recognized the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers for almost two decades. Regional and national award winners are honored for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitat while operating profitable cattle operations. For information or to nominate a cattle operation, visit the Award section.

The National Cattlemen's Foundation advances the future of the beef industry with passion and urgency for the benefit of consumers and cattlemen.

 
 
 
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