The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village was the setting for the annual Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Awards.
Gov. John Carney, along with DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, Delaware Association of Conservation Districts President Edwin Alexander, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Kasey Taylor, led a ceremony recognizing this year’s honorees.
"Today’s honorees have demonstrated their ongoing commitment to improving the environment, and on behalf of Delawareans, I thank each of them for their dedication, and for their time, effort, and investment to implement model conservation practices,” said Carney. “I also want to thank all of the Conservation District supervisors and employees for the many and various contributions they make to improve the quality of life in Delaware.”
This year’s Conservation Award winner in Sussex County is Richard Carlisle of Pine Breeze Farms. Carlisle and his wife Kathy farm 1,120 acres in western Sussex County near Bridgeville and Greenwood, all within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Carlisle has long supported and participated in the Sussex Conservation District’s Soil Health Initiative and Cover Crop Program or the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service cover crop programs. He was instrumental in the purchase, implementation, and ongoing updates of the district’s air seeder, which he has used to establish his cover crops early to improve water quality and soil health.
To address irrigation water management and improve efficiency, Pine Breeze Farms has installed new wells and pumps, and replaced aging center pivot systems and an old diesel irrigation motor.
The farm has also improved nutrient management, using smart soil sampling technology and GPS yield maps to locate deficiencies in vital nutrients and help determine efficient use of fertilizers. Carlisle also serves as a tax ditch commissioner and officer on the Jones Mill and Jones Branch tax ditches, and worked with the district to develop a tax ditch conservation plan with a maintenance schedule and recommendations for implementing water quality best management practices.