It’s a big job title, but the job has a laser focus
Written by Chaz Holt
Bart Davis, the patriarch of Davis Family Farm, is a leader in his family as well as the greater agriculture community in the South. He, along with his two sons Trey and Jedd, and daughter Lakyn, work year in and year out to employ new techniques, technology and science allowing their farm to remain successful and sustainable.
Watch: Precision Ag Farmer of the Year Video
Davis states, “I knew I wanted to do more to help the land and do something else with the land where it wasn’t producing enough and when I heard of this Quail Forever idea of planting flowers to benefit the birds and bees, I knew it was a perfect fit. Every farmer I know in the South loves the land they have and are proud of the crops they grow.”
Davis and his children all agree that with this new technology and the use of precision ag tools they can make decisions with confidence using conservation practices to help repurpose land that is taking from the farm profits.
“If I can stop using my good, irrigated land to pay off the debt from crops losing money on the poor land, I can keep more profits and have less hassle, not to mention show more yield per acre for future actual production history and insurance coverages,” says Davis. “We’ve got a lot better equipment and technology these days making us better farmers, too good in some cases. There was a time when quail were everywhere, but some of what they need has been changed. If a farmer can keep their land and crop while improving bottom lines, natural resources, and quail populations, we’ll sure give it a try.”
Chaz Holt, Quail Forever’s precision ag and conservationist specialist, worked closely with David Family Farm to help enroll 1,274 acres into the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP enhancements including conservation tillage, cover crops, and pollinator habitat on irrigation pivot corners have helped the family address revenue-negative zones throughout the farm.
Other 2021 Precision Farmer of the Year Award considerations included:
- Implementing other conservation programs such as EQIP, CSP, and CRP to control erosion, maintain soil health through cover crops, practice minimum till, and manage timber lands.
- Utilizing Quail Forever’s precision program to address low productivity acres through upland bird habitat.
- Using Lasseter Tractor Company service staff and precision ag managers, UGA research extension faculty, multiple crop advisors, and other agribusiness personnel to make informed decisions.
- Planting 17.5 acres of dryland pivot corners with a high-diversity pollinator planting mix which is helping quail populations while improving ROI throughout entire fields.
Future plans for DFF are to continue incorporating biologically diverse areas on non-irrigated corners and field edges, utility rights-of-way, and rotational pasture grazing. Their hopes are to increase carbon sequestration and potentially offer other ecosystem services like increased predatory insects and of course, more wild quail!
Chaz Holt is a precision ag and conservation specialist with Quail Forever