The Johnston Soil and Water Conservation District has named Eric Walker of Benson its 2016 River Friendly Farmer.
The award recognizes individuals who take extra steps to manage the resources on their land to protect water quality.
Walker and his wife, Beth, enrolled their farm in the Conservation Reserve Program to enhance wildlife habitat and prevent soil erosion. To accomplish those goals, they converted some of the conventional cropland on their farm into longleaf pines.
In addition, they converted the rest of their farm into native wild grasses and legumes to enhance populations of song birds, quail, rabbits, deer and wild turkey. This planting is one of the best examples of native grass stands in the county and has proven to increase the number of birds and wildlife on their farm, according to the Soil and Water Conservation District.
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The Walkers say they are pleased that their efforts in conservation have proven beneficial for soil health, wildlife habitat and water quality.