Farm honored for environmental efforts.

June 2, 2017

Bill and Patrice Bobier – OCP file photo

Farm honored for environmental efforts.

#OceanaCountyAgriculture

FERRY TOWNSHIP — Bill and Patrice Bobier, owners of Earthscape Farm LLC, received the 2016 Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Award by the Oceana Conservation District.

MAEAP is a voluntary program that helps farms prevent or reduce the risk of agricultural pollution.

“Earthscape Farm was recognized as the MAEAP Award recipient because of its outstanding efforts in conservation, stewardship and sustainability, as well as attainment of MAEAP verification in multiple systems,” wrote Lynda Herremans of the Oceana Conservation District in a recent article published in Michigan Farm News.

Herremans worked closely with the Bobiers through the MAEAP, Bill said. “A lot of credit goes to Lynda for nudging us along,” he said.

The 415-acre farm uses no pesticides or commercial fertilizers. The couple has lived on the farm for 45 years.

“The Bobiers have always grown most of their own food using organic and sustainable principles, and started selling at local farmers markets, which evolved into a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) endeavor that they ran for 10 years,” Herremans wrote.

“All feed for the cattle is also raised on the farm. Cattle are rotated through the pastures, which are managed so as not to over or under-utilize the feed value of the forages. The farm is blessed with a number of wetlands, and the north branch of the White River runs through one section of their property,” the article states.

“Much care has been taken to protect surface water through the use of exclusion fencing, cattle crossings, limited access to surface water, and placement of waterers. Field windbreaks and farmstead shelter belts have been planted around the farm.”

The farm was recognized with MAEAP verifications in June of 2014 for farmstead, cropping and livestock. The farm includes 80-100 cattle raised for beef, Bill said.

“Forest management has always been a priority on Earthscape Farm, and the quality of the woodlands is a true testament to the care they have received throughout the years,” Herremans wrote. “In addition to managing the woodlands on the farm, an average of 500 seedlings have been planted almost every year, which was one of the main practices that brought Bill into the Oceana Conservation District office 43 years ago.”

“Invasive species control, protecting wetland and stream ecosystems and providing quality wildlife habitat is also addressed on the farm.

“Now that the new system verification has been completed, Earthscape Farm LLC is the first in the county to achieve verification in all four systems and is one of only four farms statewide to reach this distinction.”

“We always pay attention to where things go,” Bill said regarding the farm’s wetland protection system, which includes miles of fencing.

“We have always tried to set a quiet example for good land stewardship.”

Earthscape Farm received the MAEAP award during the Oceana Conservation District Annual Meeting and Oceana County Agricultural Banquet last March at the New Era Reformed Church.

Related story here

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