Richland Soil and Water 2017 Conservationist of the Year

At the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (Richland SWCD) Annual Celebration held on Thursday, November 2, John Akers and Beer Farms, LLC were named 2017 Conservationist of the Year. The award was presented to John and Ann Akers and Steve and Joe Beer and was sponsored and presented by Farm Credit Mid-America. Commendations from Senator Larry Obhof and State Representative Romanchuk’s offices were also presented.

John Akers and Steve and Joe Beer of Beer Farms, LLC are working together to conserve soil and water resources in Richland County. They began their farming partnership in 1998.

When asked why they farm, they answered, “For the fun of it! It’s in our blood and we enjoy watching a seed grow.”

They rotate corn and soybeans on 800 acres of cropland and contract them locally.

John and the Beers’ have incorporated many conservation practices to control the flow of water and prevent soil erosion, such as buffer strips and grassed waterways. They no till the majority of their corn into cover crops and have moved away from chisel till to vertical till so that the soil is disturbed as little as possible.

In conjunction with the USDA-NRCS EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program), they have implemented Cover Crop and Precision Nutrient Management conservation practices. The program provided incentives to help install the practices.

Through aerial seeding, they plant a triple combination of annual rye grass, crimson red clover and radish cover crops. Each cover crop provides its own benefit, but John and the Beers’ feel that the reduction in soil erosion is the greatest benefit.

Precision nutrient management allows them to apply nutrients in the amount and locations where it is needed. In an age where nutrient runoff is of increased concern, this is a huge benefit.

Technology plays a big role in the success of their operation. Auto-steer and mapping programs have been beneficial because they increase efficiency and crop yield monitoring.

The contributions and steadfastness of John Akers and Beer Farms, LLC to conservation in Richland County is truly a reflection of what it means to be good stewards of the land. Please join us in congratulating John Akers and Steve and Joe Beer of Beer Farms, LLC as the 2017 Conservationists of the Year.

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