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Agriculture

Carlisle County farm named 2022 finalist for state conservation award

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A Carlisle County farm is a finalist for a state conservation award recognizing farmers, ranchers and forestland owners dedicated to land, water and wildlife habitat conservation on private working lands.

Reddick Farms in Bardwell is one of three finalists for the 2022 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award. Donald Veatch of Marion County and Michael W. Wilson of Anderson County rounded out the other finalists for the award this year. Named in honor of conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award also includes a $10,000 monetary prize.

Reddick Farms was a finalist for the award last year, and this time around they’re hopeful to come out on top. Joel Reddick, who works on the family-owned farm, said everyone is proud to be named finalist for a second year.

“We’re very pleased to be considered among the top farmer conservationists in the state,” Reddick said. “We do a lot of things differently on Reddick Farms and make decisions with conservation in mind at a lot of points where other farms don’t.”

Reddick said the term at the center of the farm's conservation practices is “regenerative agriculture.” Regenerative agriculture is still a fairly new buzz phrase for the farming community, Reddick said, it’s so new that there’s no standardized definition.

“For comparison, the term organic is a USDA, government-regulated term, and they have standards.” Reddick said, “But, regenerative is not like [that]. It can mean different things to different people ... to us [it’s] taking care of our land, taking care of our people, taking care of our land owners we rent from and taking care of our environment”

Some of the methods Reddick Farms uses in their regenerative agriculture strategy include a reduction in tillage practices. Reddick said the farm utilizes new technology that greatly reduces the need to till the fields, effectively eliminating the need for it. This leads to limiting the amount of erosion that would happen from normal tilling practices.

They also utilize what’s known as cover crops. These are different plant species brought in to have positive environmental impacts on the Reddicks’ land in the near and long term future. They help reduce the amount of run-off nutrients that would otherwise be washed away from the fields during rain showers. This keeps more nutrients in the fields, leading to environmental benefits and logistical benefits.

The goal of Reddick Farm’s regenerative agriculture philosophy is to preserve farmlands for future generations. Reddick said farmers today are having to oversee large plots of land with less individuals to work it, and that it was up to places like Reddick Farms to lead the way in conservation practices.

“My family has been farming in this area for over a long time, many generations, and it’s something that we want to leave it as better,” Reddick said. “We want to improve it to the best of our ability, so we can have long term success for many generations to come.”

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