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Sand Mountain Farmer Committed to Conservation - Sanders

Lookout Mountain Farmer Committed to Conservation


l-r: Roy Sanders and James Huber check out stand of Fescue grass.
(l-r) Roy Sanders and Soil Technician James Huber check the stand of Fescue grass that is growing on the Sanders cattle farm.  By May, the tiny seeds that Sanders planted last fall on 23 acres will transform into massive waves of green, and the plants can be cut for hay or devoted to grazing plants for cattle.

By Cecil Gant, SM-LG Watershed, Rainsville, AL

Roy Sanders lives on Lookout Mountain in DeKalb County, Alabama.  He is strongly committed to improving the land with which he has been entrusted and regards himself as a good steward of the environment.  With the best management practices he has underway, he has “put his money where his mouth is.”

Sanders recently established 17 acres of Bermuda grass for hay, and he is re-seeding more than 23 acres of Fescue in his operation. He strategically placed three concrete troughs in his pastures to make clean water convenient and accessible to the 50-head beef cattle herd on his farm. He also plans to fence out a creek and install two farm ponds to keep his cattle from polluting the water and to protect his herd from foot rot disease.

This conscientious farmer learned about conservation by observing other farmers’ success. In fact, he credits Billy Twilley, a neighbor and a member of the DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District, with being his role model and encouraging him to implement conservation practices.

Sanders believes that everybody needs to join the effort to protect our natural resources. This includes a commitment from industries not to dump harmful chemicals or other materials from their industrial processes in our streams and a priority by the general public to keep litter off the land. 

He feels he is doing his part.  “I see a connection between caring for the land´┐Żconserving it and keeping it functional, and productive´┐Żand our standard of living,” Sanders said. “The low prices we have paid for food in the past are a result of the efficiency of our farmers, most of whom are environmentally friendly.”

Sanders is appreciative of the help made available to him by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Financial assistance through such programs as EQIP, or the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, has allowed me to do more improvements to the land than I could have done otherwise,” the conservation-minded Sanders pointed out.

James Huber, District Technician with the DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation District, works closely with Sanders. His hands-on technical assistance assures the landowner’s understanding and compliance with NRCS requirements.

l-r: James Huber and Roy Sanders view heavy use area. 
Roy Sanders (r) is pleased with the concrete watering troughs he recently installed on his beef cattle farm on Lookout Mountain. To reduce potential messy conditions in wet weather in and around the troughs, Sanders built a heavy-use area. The watering troughs will enable Sanders’ cows to have clean and fresh drinking water continuously.

Sanders tells James Huber (l) technician with the DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation District, the more best management practices he installs on his farm, the more he regards himself as a good steward of the land