Family recognized for land conservation
Brooks Farms has been named the recipient of Wisconsin’s Leopold Conservation Award.
The award honors Wisconsin landowners for their voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.
Brooks Farms is a 1,600-acre, vertically integrated dairy and crop farm in Waupaca, owned and managed by Ron Brooks and his daughters Zoey, Syndey, Alyssa and Kelsey.
The dairy is currently undergoing a significant expansion, from 250 cows to 650, with plans to expand more in the future.
Their herd expansion will allow them to take advantage of economy of scale, giving them the ability to invest in manure separation and a wastewater treatment plant.
Depending on the year and weather conditions, up to 80 percent of their cropland is no-till.
The cropland undergoes a 10-year crop rotation between oats, alfalfa, corn, soybeans and wheat. Throughout the 10-year rotation, the fields are only tilled twice with heavy consideration of slope and erosion potential.
Earthworms thrive in their reduced tillage fields, indicating a healthy soil biosphere and creating channels to allow for the infiltration of water.
“Brooks Farms is an excellent representative of the farms across Wisconsin that care for land and natural resources through proper conservation,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation president. “The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is proud to recognize them for their outstanding conservation efforts.”
“Wisconsin’s dairy farmers are proud to have one of their own receiving this prestigious award – a symbol of the conservation work being done by farmers every day,” said Patrick Geoghegan, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board senior vice president of corporate communications.
The Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It seeks to inspire other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders.
In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”
The award will be presented Dec. 4 at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells. The Brooks family will be presented with a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and $10,000.