True Environmentalist

October 25, 2010 07:06 AM

RonGibson 125x125Ron Gibson 

West Weber, Utah

Gibson milks 1,400 cows at his Green Acres family dairy near Ogden.


September prices

(3.73% bf, 3.13% prt) $17.44/cwt.

Cull cows

Springing heifers $1,450/head

Alfalfa hay


Soy Best

Steam flaked corn

*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.

As stewards of the land, we feel a great responsibility to make sure we properly care for the environment and the land that provides us our income.

As fifth-generation farmers, my brother and I are on the original family farm here in Weber County, Utah. I still remember the stories my grandpa told about how each parcel of ground was acquired. He would explain how much work and dedication it took for our ancestors to build the operation we have today. I think that many of the enemies of agriculture have forgotten that farmers are the true environmentalists.

Being open-minded to new ideas, sound science and technology is key. As the manager/owner of a growing dairy business, I sometimes feel uneasy about new things. Many years ago, when I was told we needed a nutrient management plan for the operation, I wondered how I was supposed to keep track of all that stuff. Now I realize it was a step in the right direction. It helps me know why my crops are yielding what they are yielding and saves us money because we apply only the amount of fertilizer necessary to grow the crop.

This does not mean that we shouldn’t have a voice in the process of developing regulation for our business. The costs of many ridiculous mandates can severely hamper the success of family farming operations. One opportunity we have is to vote and support political candidates who understand and care about our way of life. We also need to be involved in organizations that represent grassroots policy and can voice our needs to our elected leaders. We need to help others understand the love we have for the land.

One of the main goals on our farm is to do everything we have to do to make sure our operation is viable to transfer to the next generation. In order to do that, we will continue to implement strategies that help us be environmentally responsible. We will base our decisions on sound science and our faith in our ability to adapt to new technologies.

Just last month, we were approached by a company that wants to purchase all of the compost that we can produce. We are going to try to incorporate that into our nutrient management plan by next spring.

With the tough economic times in the dairy industry in the last few years, each change we make must be financially responsible. I believe that with an open mind, there is ample technology to succeed in our efforts to be the true environmentalists.

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