Walton County farm family wins national conservation award
Foster Brady Farms located in Walton County has been named the 2020 Friend of Conservation by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the Conservationist of the Year by the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) for their outstanding contributions to natural resource conservation.
The late Dan Foster, and now his daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl and Hal Brady, and their son and daughter-in-law, Clay and Paula Brady, have loved and cared for the land that has been a part of their family for more than a century. From row cropping to cattle, and now to vegetable farming, conservation is a focal point of their lives. They continue to show the importance of putting conservation practices on the ground to enhance production, income, sustainability and to educate the community.
The family has worked hard on the farm in conjunction with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field office in Monroe and the Walton County Conservation District to plan and develop conservation practices that help protect and conserve natural resources on their land. The family’s conservation plan that includes wildlife, grazing, forestry and cropland enhancement activities has been continuously updated and implemented in a progressive fashion, consistent with the Conservation District’s mission and NRCS standards to promote forest, soil and water health and quality.
In 2019, they began participating in the NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and will implement enhancements, including adding 0.5 acres of monarch butterfly habitat to benefit this endangered insect.
“We join others in recognizing the fine conservation work that the Bradys are doing on their farm,” said Georgia NRCS State Conservationist Terrance Rudolph. “It’s great to see their whole-farm approach to conservation and we look forward to working with them on their next accomplishments.”
Foster Brady Farm’s commitment to the protection and conservation of natural resources and sustainable farming extends beyond their farm boundaries. They have been conducting conservation educational outreach events for their community and surrounding areas since 1969. These included food tours which allow participants from the surrounding area to visit farms and learn production and conservation techniques. Additionally, Foster Brady Farm has hosted micro-irrigation and pollinator habitat field days and participates in University of Georgia internship programs where students can learn firsthand conservation minded and sustainable farming practices.
“Our District is very proud of their conservation practices as well as their desire to educate the community and students that visit the farm,” said Dan Bennett, chairman of the Walton County Conservation District. “The progression that the Foster Brady farm has made through the years is a shining example to all, for making agriculture sustainable for their families’ generations for years to come. The state of Georgia recognition (GACD) as well as the National recognition (NACD) is certainly well deserved.”
The farm received the Walton County Conservation District’s Conservationist of the Year award in 2001 and 2013 and was presented the Georgia Centennial Family Farm Award in 2003.
“Conserving our farmland is of utmost importance to us,” Hal Brady said. “We strive to keep the farm healthy and sustainable for years to come by keeping up with and incorporating best management practices.”