WATERTOWN – WI Land+Water, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and Dodge County Land and Water Conservation Department (LWCD) recognized the Peirick family and T&R Dairy for their community leadership and outstanding land stewardship at the 2019 Conservation Observance Day, held at T&R Dairy last Friday. The public event showcased the Peirick’s family dairy farm and their conservation practices on 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans, as well as Tony Peirick’s impact on the community and watershed by founding the Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil and Healthy Water farmer-led group.
“Conservation Observance Day is a moment of celebration to commend the tremendous conservation examples set forth by Tony Peirick, his family and T&R Dairy,” said Matt Krueger, WI Land+Water’s Executive Director. “Since switching to no-till in 1994 and planting cover crops since 2004, Tony continuously shows that nurturing healthy soils is at the heart of successful farming and improving watersheds. Not only has Tony built an exemplary operation on sustainable farming practices, he is also a community leader, helping his neighbors incorporate these practices into their operations. Tony’s innovative and meticulous farming management and leadership is a model for the agricultural community across Wisconsin.”
“No one cares more about our land than the farmer, and many Wisconsin farm families are already leading the way on conservation efforts in their own communities,” said DATCP Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff. “Sustainable agriculture practices make economic and environmental sense. The Peiricks and T&R Dairy are a great example of the positive results we see when we help farmers pursue these practices. I thank Tony and his family for their leadership and dedication to ensuring a healthy natural environment on their farm.”
Attended by conservationists and farmers from across Wisconsin, the morning events included a tour of the dairy operation, a rotational grazing presentation, and a showcasing of the Peirick’s corn fields with cover crops and no-till. Following lunch, the afternoon included a soil pit, rainfall simulator, and more discussions around planting green and cover crops. Dodge County LWCD worked closely with the Peirick family to organize and host the event.
“It is with great pride that Dodge County hosted the Conservation Observance Day to honor the 2019 Conservation Farm Family of the Year, T&R Dairy. The Peirick Family has been conservation leaders for many years using no-till and cover crops. Their willingness to think out of the box, along with their leadership in the soil health movement in Dodge County and mentoring others along the way, is the key to their success” said John Bohonek, Dodge County LWCD Conservationist.
Tony Peirick has farmed the land at T&R Dairy in southern Dodge County since the 1960’s. He currently farms the 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans with his brother and their two sons. The operation also grows between 30-50 acres of alfalfa for the dairy cows. Tony began no-tilling in 1994 and has been experimenting with different cover crop mixes since 2004.
Over the past year, Tony and the farmer-led group used one of his fields to experiment with planting green and 60 inch corn row plantings. The results are impressive, with comparable yields to 30 inch rows. The farmers attribute much of this to the sunlight penetration and the temperature control of the soil that the cover crops provide. Additionally, cover crops help cycle nutrients and keep a living ecosystem for microorganisms annually.
Thank you to the all the volunteers and guest speakers, including representatives from DATCP and USDA-NRCS, that helped make this event possible. For more information about the event, visit Dodge County’s website.
About the Conservation Farm Family of the Year Award
The Conservation Farm Family of the Year Award is given by WI Land+Water annually to recognize the outstanding achievements of Wisconsin landowners that incorporate conservation practices into their operation for the betterment of their land, waters, and their community. Recipients are awarded at WI Land+Water’s annual conference and then become the hosts for that year’s Conservation Observance Day.
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