Dairyman honored by state Soil conservation is way of life CARROLL COUNTY FARM/BUSINESS

January 07, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Soil conservation isn't something special for dairy farmer Don Brower. It's just the way he does his job.

Still, the 32-year-old Taneytown resident's eight-year involvement with the state soil conservation board has earned him the group's Cooperator of the Year award for 1992.

"He's a fantastic person to work with, and we're proud to have him as our cooperator of the year," said Charlie Coblentz, a soil conservation planner who has worked with Mr. Brower.

"Every time we go out there, it's been because he's called us because he wants our ideas or help on something."

Tiled fields, fenced streams

The conservation projects Mr. Brower uses on the 400-some acres he farms include rain gutters off his buildings that drain underground to a nearby stream, underground drainage tiles and fences along streams to keep his cattle out of the water.

"I've been using conservation practices pretty much since I began farming," Mr. Brower said.

"I've been farming all my life, but I really got interested in conservation when our barn burnt down in 1989."

After the fire, Mr. Brower expanded a manure pit he had installed in 1986 for nutrient management.

He now tests his soil and the manure for nutrients and then decides how much commercial fertilizer to buy based on those figures.

"For one thing, it saves me money and it's a lot better for the soil," said Mr. Brower, who saved about $7,000 in fertilizer costs this year.

Soil conservation practices also help the aesthetics of his farm, Mr. Brower said.

"It's also much more pleasant for people to look at, a field that is well taken care of rather than one that has gutters running through it," he said.

That dedication to the welfare of his neighbors as well as himself is one factor that put Mr. Brower ahead of the competition for the award, Mr. Coblentz said.

"Besides being interested in conservation, [Mr. Brower] recognizes the benefits to himself and others," Mr. Coblentz said.

"He's not only interested in the farm he farms, but those he rents. He helps everyone when he helps himself."

Carroll County's conservation district manager, Ed Null, said Mr. Brower was chosen for the award -- given for four decades -- based on his enthusiasm for conservation, his involvement over the years and the work he's done recently.

"[Mr. Brower]'s just done a real outstanding job," said Mr. Null.

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