Pete Ladd is Marshall County Conservation Farmer of the Year

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Betty and Pete Ladd, with Charlie in the tractor, were recently honored as recipients of the Marshall County Conservation Farmer of the Year for 2017.
Photo submitted

Pete Ladd has been named the 2017 Marshall County Conservation Farmer of the Year. The award is part of a state program sponsored by the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts (TACD) in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and the Marshall County Soil Conservation District. The program seeks to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the conservation of the natural resources on their farm.

Pete operates a beef cattle farm in northern Marshall County. He and his wife, Betty, moved to the farm in 1990. Betty’s father, Mr. Bill Vernon, started the farm and Pete said he learned from Mr. Vernon how to manage the farm. He’s transitioned to a Balancer cattle herd over the last few years. Pete and Betty’s youngest son, Brian Ladd, is our Marshall Farmers Cooperative Manager. Both of their sons, Brian and Andy, and their families are a part of the family farm.

Pete has been working with the district and NRCS over the last several years making improvements on his land. Since 2007, Pete has installed 8986 feet of cross or exclusion fence, 3.3 acres of critical area seeding where red river crabgrass was seeded on some winter feed areas, 3772 feet of livestock water pipeline, 2 frost-free livestock water facilities, 1 pumping plant and solar system, and prescribed grazing on approximately 70 acres. He has also participated in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and completed various management practices contributing to Grazing, Energy, Soil and Pest Management. CSP is a program that aids conservationists like Pete in taking good stewardship principles even a step further. One example is Pete now uses pressure reduce nozzles on his sprayer that reduces drift when he applies pesticides. He is working on a project now to get water to a different part of his pasture. Pete knows better placement of water will lead to better usage of his pastures by the cattle. He rotates his cattle among the multiple paddocks on the farm to give the forage time for regrowth. Pete said, “A lot of this work would have eventually been done but NRCS has helped me to accomplish my goals quicker.” Pete participated in the Spring Creek Watershed 319 Grant a couple years ago and through that project all the drains and open waters of the state on his farm were fenced and excluded from livestock. He was even able to fence off some of his woodland and devote those areas to wildlife. We were able to work together on a conservation plan that achieved multiple objectives from farm production to natural resources conservation to promoting wildlife habitat.

“Mr. Ladd is a pleasure to work with. He’s always conscientious of doing the right thing when it comes to taking care of his land, his animals or anything he is involved with. He’s a great steward of his farm and a great example of adapting conservation practices on a working cattle farm,” said Mandy Cash, NRCS District Conservationist.

For more information about the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Marshall County Soil Conservation District call the local office at 931-359-6268 ext. 3.