Raymond King's home and farm. Photo by Lamonte Garber/CBF Staff.
a scenic 75 acres in Lancaster County is the home and farm of Raymond King. King honors the Amish
farming traditions that have inter-connected his family and community for many
generations. At the same time, he is building on those traditions by
incorporating conservation practices that will benefit his farm and the creek
that runs through it for generations to come.
such practice is the use of no-till planting techniques, which have been used on
the farm since 1979. No-till has kept the soil in place and the crops in good
condition. Contour strips also add extra benefit and improve crops.
CBF's Buffer Bonus program, and in partnership with NRCS and the Lancaster
County Conservation District, King was able to plan and construct a variety
of on-farm conservation improvements that will do for the rest of his farm what
the no-till and contour strips have done for his fields; improvements like the
construction of a new manure storage facility, a stormwater collection system,
streambank fencing and crossings, and the planting of streamside trees and
Wendy Coons, Soil Conservation Technician for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has
been working with King for two years. "When we first met," Coons says, "he wanted to
better deal with barnyard runoff, and he also wanted to improve his manure
storage capacity. He wanted to be able to store excess manure for up to six
months, thus allowing him to get through the winter without having to spread it
onto his fields. We got all of that work, plus a whole lot more done on the
very important to any on-farm conservation improvement effort is having the
required conservation and nutrient and manure management plans, which King
King says, "I'm particularly glad to have a certified nutrient management plan. I had previously been broadcasting nitrogen,
which, I learned was wasting time and money. The plan saves me both by showing
me the correct amount of nitrogen to apply, when to apply it, and exactly where
to apply so that the plants get the most benefit. My nitrogen lasts a lot longer and I'm saving
CBF hopes to
demonstrate that on-farm conservation practices are very achievable within a
community that has traditionally avoided interaction with government and
Manure Storage. Photo by Lamonte Garber/CBF Staff.
Lamonte Garber, CBF's
Pennsylvania Agriculture Program Manager, says "Raymond's farm really addresses
all the conservation needs that we might find on a Plain Sect farm and
beyond. More and more farmers are
willing to fence cattle out of their streams, but Raymond has restored a wider,
forested buffer through the CREP program. He is even considering the option of
permanently preserving the buffer to protect it for future generations. That commitment is to be commended.
Buffer Bonus Program and all of CBF's watershed restoration work, CBF strives
to create "clusters" of forested buffers and conservation improvements like
those on King's farm on connected reaches of streams, in order to maximize
impact. To do so means getting neighbors on board.
CBF Buffer Specialist in Lancaster County, worked with King throughout the
process and is encouraged by his willingness to install these conservation
practices and his mindset toward sharing what he has learned with his neighbors
and others. "As with any farming community, people learn about new techniques
by watching what happens on their neighbors' farm and by talking to each other.
We are encouraged by the prospect of installing a streamside buffer on a farm
just downstream from Raymond. The
neighbor has seen the changes happening next door and is now considering
conservation practices on his farm."
Photo by Ashley Spotts/CBF Staff.
continues, "I consider King's farm a success story because he 'gets it'
[conservation] and wants to pass on what he has learned about conservation to
The end goal of
CBF's efforts is the restoration of entire stream systems--restoring water
quality, bringing back fisheries and aquatic life, and in some cases even
removing streams from the state impaired waters list.
is a model for conservation improvements. The work done approximates what will
be required of all farms in order to meet our clean water obligations for
Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay. It also demonstrates the benefits achieved
through the collaborative efforts of agricultural and county agencies,
nonprofit organizations, and conservation programs like Buffer Bonus.
practices implemented on the King Farm:
new manure storage facility;
waste and run-off collection system;
collection system, including gutters and downspouts;
house waste rerouting system takes milk waste to newly constructed manure
tree planting of mixed native shrubs and trees;
fencing and stream crossing;
- cropland terrace; and
Special thanks and
and his family
Jim Saltzman, Kara Kalupson, Greg Heigel, Lancaster County Conservation District and Wendy Coons, Natural Resource Conservation Service: The dedicated staff from the Conservation District and NRCS provided a variety of technical services for this project including the design and construction oversight for the new manure storage facility, and other barnyard improvements. Staff also developed the overall conservation plan for Mr. King’s farm.
Raeann Schatz, U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency: The streamside buffer established on Mr. King’s farm was made possible through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Raeann Schatz is the FSA point person for CREP in Lancaster County, and her role is integral to achieving on-farm and water quality improvements. Meeting with farmers on their farms, and walking them through the program requirements and incentives has lead to a better understanding and increased interest in CREP in the Plain Sect communities of Lancaster County. Special thanks to Raeann for her efforts.
Chris Sigmund, Jeremy Weaver, TeamAg, Inc.: TeamAg is an agricultural consulting firm based in Ephrata, PA, and is a valued partner in our Buffer Bonus Program. Chris and Jeremy had early discussions with Mr. King regarding the creation a forested stream buffer on his farm.