2013 Recipient: Ward Farm

jackson wardjoeJoe Ward, Ward Farm

$6,000—Customized Kinze Row Planting System

Joe is purchasing customized no-till row planting equipment that enables him to plant and grow no-till corn so he can expand into local food and livestock feed markets. He is also producing feed for Ward Farm’s cow/calf operation. He is growing one acre of sweet corn and 10 acres of feed corn.

Joe is demonstrating no-till farming in a county where few farmers use this method. In no-till fields, soil erosion and runoff are minimized as a network of fibrous and tap roots grow throughout the soil profile, providing pathways for air and moisture. This method also creates a good environment for earthworms and beneficial bacteria, fungi and enzymes, all crucial for healthy crops.

A custom fertilizer box allows Joe to apply directly in the seed and root zone for optimum uptake, reducing the amount applied. He can also better combat the growing issue of black cutworm damage with a custom insecticide box.

The new equipment lessens Joe’s workload, and better germination and seed placement results in higher yields. “It will allow us to have another source of income, which will help us better maintain the farm and allow our son [Joe, 36] to carry on with the farm,” Joe said.

He sells sweet corn to produce stands and stores and sells feed corn by the bushel to local feed stores.

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