Title: 1995 Ag-Environmental: Fulford Farms, Inc.
Type: Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award
It’s easy to fall in love with the rolling hills of North Florida. It was the tranquil beauty of this area that inspired the Fulford family to begin farming here in the 1940s.
Bury Fulford: My father is the first generation and then my brother and myself are second generation. And then my son is helping also on the farm; and then we don’t know what the grandson’s going to do, but there's four generations as of right now. It's headaches and heartaches sometimes, but we all enjoy it.
The generations of hard work behind Fulford Farms demonstrate an honest commitment to being a steward of the land. The Fulfords have implemented a number of programs to maintain the quality of their 1,500-acre operation. Among them are Integrated Pest Management practices.
The farm -- which produces peanuts, soybeans, corn and cotton -- relies heavily on scouting. Being able to identify beneficial predators to control harmful pests, reduces the need for pesticide use, thus reducing harmful run-off.
The hills of Jefferson County present the Fulfords with a difficult challenge; their rolling nature is a principal cause of soil erosion. Working in cooperation with the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District and the Aucilla River Small Watershed Program, Fulford Farms began to control erosion using Best Management Practices.
In addition to using crop rotation as a part of their overall approach to farming, the Fulfords have actively implemented various soil conservation techniques, such as strip tillage and contour farming that meet the challenges of North Florida's terrain.
Bury Fulford: On your hillier ground, which we have right here in North Florida, you've got to have some way to control the water and the soil from moving out of your field. And the terrace is a good way to do it, or one of the main ways to do it, other than Strip-tillage and no-till, and all. More and more acres are going to it.
Other conservation efforts include grassed waterways, sediment control basins and terrace tile outlets. These measures help to enhance wildlife habitat and preserve natural resources for future generations.
Bury Fulford: I've always looked at it this way. If you don't take care of the land, it's not going to take care of you ... and I hope to pass it on down to my son and grandson, so, in years to come. I hope I leave it better than what we found it, you know, in the future.