The Transylvania Times -

Local Farm Named State's Top Conservationist

 

January 28, 2011

Everett Farms Natural Beef, located in Pisgah Forest and owned by George and Carrie Lenze, was recently named the 2011 State Conservation Farm.

James Ferguson, past president of the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (N.C. ASWCD), presented the Lenzes and their children, Drew, Hannah and Michaela, with the award during the recent 67th annual meeting of the N.C. ASWCD at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville.

The couple were also the winners of the 2010 Mountain Region Outstanding Conservation Farm Family by the N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation and the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

According to a press release from the N.C. ASWCD, there were several reasons the Lenzes were named the State Conservation Farm of the year.

Everett Farms was bestowed with the honor due to its "outstanding commitment to conservation of our natural resources," said the release.

One of the ways Everett Farms has demonstrated conservation means is through protecting water quality.

George worked closely with the N.C. ASWCD, District Conservationist Bob Twomey and Transylvania SWCD Director Jeff Parker to establish more than a dozen frost-free water tanks that the Everett Farm's cattle can drink from.

The farm also has "facility to feed cattle and store manure in an environmentally friendly manner," said the release.

The feed/waste storage building, for example, is used to collect, treat and utilize the waste of 60 head of cattle. This waste is then used to provide nutrients to more than 65 acres on the farm.

"(All) these practices decrease soil erosion and improve the water quality of the streams on the farm and downstream," said the release.

In addition to the operational practices of the farm, with the more than 14,000 feet of fencing to keep livestock out of nearby streams, multiple steam crossings, and prescribed grazing practices, the release said, Everett Farms has demonstrated conservations methods through the multiple educational activities it has held.

The educational events include Brevard College Visions tours, Farm Bureau Tours, grazing classes, stock pile demonstrations, 4-H judging clinics, 4-H veterinary clinics on cattle and chickens, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project farm tours, and home school group tours.

In a previous interview with The Transylvania Times, George said he was fortunate enough to have made enough money in the commercial concrete business in Tampa, Fla., in order to buy and begin Everett Farms, which he has always dreamed of owning.

He converted a 19th century building into an office and service shop, built two barns, a home and a waste recovery station. To do so, he took full advantage of government and non-profit services. But it also meant the instillation of strong agricultural preservation and practices.

Another reason the farm took the state conservation award was a land easement.

With the assistance of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, the Lenzes placed 140 acres of Everett Farms into a conservancy to protect the land. This easement will allow for agricultural activities to occur but will prohibit the commercial development of the land.

There are 10 acres of the land that is not included in the easement. This will be the future home sites for the Lenzes' three children.

A celebration is being planned for June to showcase the conservation practices on the farm and to honor the Lenzes for their work.

 
 

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