MONROE, Ga. — Foster Brady Farms in Monroe has been named the 2020 Friend of Conservation by the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Conservationist of the Year by the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA- 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 USDA- NRCS standards to promote forest, soil and water health and quality.
In 2019, they began participating in the USDA- NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program 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 Brady’s are doing on their farm,” said Terrance O. Rudolph, state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“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 as they have been conducting conservation educational outreach events for their community and surrounding areas since 1969. They have hosted food tours which allow participants from the surrounding area to visit farms and learn production and conservation techniques.
Additionally, they have hosted micro-irrigation and pollinator habitat field days, and they participate in University of Georgia internship programs where students can learn firsthand conservation minded and sustainable farming practices.
Dan Bennett, chair of the Walton County Conservation District remarks, “Our District is very proud of their conservation practices as well as their desire to educate the community and students that visit the farm. 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 as well as the national recognition is certainly well deserved.”
Award recognition is not new to the Foster Brady Farm. The farm received the Walton County Conservation District’s Conservationist of the Year award in 2001 and 2013, and was given the Georgia Centennial Family Farm Award in 2003.
Hal Brady of Foster Brady Farm says, “Conserving our farmland is of utmost importance to us. We are the fourth generation to farm this land and our son, Clay and daughter-in-law Paula are fifth. We strive to keep the farm healthy and sustainable for years to come by keeping up with and incorporating best management practices.”
The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts represents all 40 of Georgia’s Conservation Districts including the Walton County Conservation District. GACD and the district promote natural resources conservation through community and educational outreach.