(WKOW) -- Over a decade ago the soil near Brickstead Dairy in Greanleaf, Wisconsin, wasn't as healthy as it is today. That's due to the sustainable farming practices Dan Brick has implemented on the farm.
"We went through and made sure that we had good grass waterways," Brick said. "We've um, started cover crops in 2009, and we ramped that up to 100%. Every field has a cover crop on. Also three years ago we switched everything over to a no-till."
Other sustainable measures include grid sampling of soil to measure where nutrients should be applied, no-till farming to keep soil in place and combat erosion, planting grass on all of the waterways to avoid excess runoff, and adding more driveway access to fields to prevent heavy machinery from compacting the soil.
"It shows that we care about the environment," Brick said. "We felt that it's very important for the next generation to be able to do this and you know it should show that uh, that I'm in here for the long haul."
Dan is also implementing a new program called inter-seeding, which helps to keep soil and nutrients where they belong as well as increase organic matter in the soil.
"So the idea is to be able to get the cover crop started in June…middle of June, so we're planting that cover crop in between the corn rows and then it kind of goes dormant because it's got a lot of shade at that point. And then once we take that crop off in the fall, it starts to grow again because it gets a lot of sunlight."
As a fifth-generation dairy farmer, Brick understands that conservation and reducing his carbon footprint are vital for present and future generations.
"We're happy that we can show that large farms can be stewards of the land also."
Brickstead Dairy will receive the Leopold Conservation Award, which consists of a check for ten thousand dollars and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold, in December. The award is a collaboration of the Sand County Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association.