Earth Day Editorial – Don Niles

Don Niles, Casco,
Penisula Pride Farms

As dairy farmers, caring for the natural resources is an inherent part of what my family and I do each day, not just on Earth Day.

Our aim is to bring benefit to the whole community while preserving family farming as a way of life.

This is why I’ve chosen to collaborate with other local farmers with a similar goal to use research, teamwork and financial resources to promote best farming practices that keep soil healthy and water clean.

Peninsula Pride Farms (PPF) is a farmer-led non-profit group dedicated to promoting water conservation, environmentally sound agricultural practices and community engagement. The group is composed of grain, dairy and livestock farmers in Kewaunee and southern Door counties.

As we begin to hit the fields for spring planting, our community will notice that there are already many small plants popping up. This is because we are utilizing a conservation practice of planting cover crops through the winter months to help hold soil and nutrients in our fields. From 2019 to 2021, PPF members increased cover crop acres from 10,124 to 28,805 acres, equal to more than 21,000 football fields.

This year will continue that trend.  While cover cropping has by now become standard practice of many local farms, we will continue to press ahead with more cover crops, sink hole mitigation and other conservation practices.  This year, we will also partner with Houston Engineering, Inc. to better analyze our farming practices and make more accurate and sophisticated estimates of the actual benefits from the practices we are employing.

On Earth Day this month, and every day, we are committed to being stewards of the land and water in our care and look forward to bringing in more practices that allow us to do just that.

Don Niles