Goggin has worked to make his farm more environmentally friendly

June 15, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Whatever goes into the creek on Walter Goggin Jr.’s farm goes into Herrington Lake, the drinking water source for Danville and the surrounding area.

Now, that water is cleaner.

Together, Goggin and the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Mary Ann Sharp have worked on his cattle and hay farm, so it is more profitable and environmentally friendly.

Participating in a cost-share program with the NRCS, Goggin scraped mud from the bottom of his two ponds and fenced the water off. This will extend the life of the ponds by as much as 15 years.

Goggin used to have two sources of water for his 10 fields. Cows had to walk a distance, sometimes to the next pasture to find water, so they would wait until the last minute to lumber over for a drink. The cows weren't well hydrated and often ignored lush pastures further away; instead they would eat the hay near the ponds down to the dirt.


Goggin put stock tanks and other water sources in each pasture. Now cows can be rotated from one pasture to another, and because they walk shorter distances, the animals stay hydrated and as a result the herd will gain more weight.

Goggin also put in a filter strip. It is a 75-foot stretch of grass between waterway and the pasture that is fenced off, so that cows can't graze it. The grass helps to stop manure and dirt from getting into the creek, improving water quality.

As farmers slowly plant less and less tobacco, many have bought more cows to make up the difference in their incomes. More cows mean more waste, so Sharp said it is important for farmers to start thinking about conservation.

By growing filter strips and not overgrazing, farmers can save soil. It is important because soil is a non-renewable resource. It can take 500 years to create one inch of soil.

Goggin said he believes it is important to conserve "for future generations."

NRCS was particularly interested in Goggin's farm because it is in the Mock's Branch and Spears Creek watershed. The creeks flow into Herrington Lake.

Sharp said Goggin's farm could be used as an example for other farmers to follow.

She provides technical assistance to any farmer or landowner that is interested in conservation practices, and the NRCS has money every year to help employ some practices.

For more information, call (859) 238-7461, ext. 3.

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