We are excited to announce that Monnett Farms has been named Cooperator of the Year for 2014 by the Calvert Soil Conservation District. We received the award at the organization’s annual banquet on Thursday, March 12th.
Benson and I have been cooperators of the Calvert Soil Conservation District (CSCD) since 2011. Benson’s parents, Joseph & Marilyn Tiralla have been members since 1987. Benson’s grandfather, Dennis Monnett Jr. was also a cooperator and served as treasurer for the CSCD from 1960 to 1963. Dennis Monnett Jr. was named Cooperator of the Year in 1965.
Monnett Farms Conservation Practices
Since 2007, we have adopted many best management practices – or BMPs. With help from the CSCD, we have fenced in about 30 acres of pasture to keep animals out of streams and sensitive areas. We have also installed automatic waterers, which sit on concrete pads called heavy use areas – that help to prevent watering stations from becoming muddy and control erosion.
We have also replanted some pastures and renovated others by overseeding with clover to assist with our rotational grazing program.
This spring, we will be installing gutters on the barn to control roof run off and subsequent soil erosion.
Fences and gates at Monnett Farms helps us manage a rotational grazing system for cattle, goats and sheep.
Frost-free hydrants give animals year round, free choice access to water. Concrete pads around the hydrants help control these heavy use areas.
What is a Soil Conservation District?
The first soil conservation districts were formed in response to desperate conditions caused by the dust bowl. In 1935, Congress declared soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Three-quarters of the land in the United States was privately owned, and so it was realized that only through active and voluntary support from landowners could Congress guarantee the success of conservation on private land.
The Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD) was organized on March 29, 1945. The Calvert Soil Conservation District officially organized on June 10, 1948. Today there are nearly 3,000 conservation districts – one in almost every county in all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In Maryland, there are 24 soil conservation districts.
A soil conservation district is made up of landowners and farmers called cooperators. These members join together voluntarily in planning for and controlling soil erosion, sedimentation, and flooding; as well as managing animal wastes, fertilizers, and agricultural chemicals to protect farmland and water quality.
The CSCD provides technical assistance to landowners with installing best management practices as well as cost-share programs. CSCD also has an equipment rental program for farmers and landowners. Learn more about the Calvert Soil Conservation District at calvertsoil.org.