Reddick Farms Receives Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award
July 12, 2022
Watch the inspiring story of Reddick Farms
Reddick Farms of Bardwell is the recipient of the 2022 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award®.
The prestigious award, given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation and management of natural resources by American farmers, ranchers and forestland owner in 24 states.
In Kentucky, the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, national sponsor American Farmland Trust, and state partners: Kentucky Agricultural Council, and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts.
Brad Reddick, who received $10,000 and a crystal award for being selected, accepted the award at the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts’ Annual Convention in Bowling Green.
Reddick implemented a rotational grazing program and other conservation practices to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality at his crop and beef cattle farm in Carlisle County.
“The Kentucky Agricultural Council is proud to once again partner in recognizing exceptional stewardship and conservation work as demonstrated by the Reddick family,” said Mark Barker, Kentucky Agricultural Council’s chair. “The winner of the 2022 Leopold Conservation Award represents lifelong work in his community to promote good stewardship and his passion for agriculture in Carlisle County.”
“Kentucky’s 121 conservation districts promote the sound management of all our natural resources and we are excited to join in recognizing the well deserving Reddick family,” said Shane Wells, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts President. “This year’s Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award recipient is truly a working family farm with a strong land stewardship ethic.”
“These award finalists are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.
“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of the Kentucky recipient,” said John Piotti, AFT president and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”
Among the many outstanding Kentucky landowners nominated for the award were finalists: Donald Veatch of Campbellsville in Marion County, and Mike Wilson of Lawrenceburg in Anderson County.
The 2022 recipient was Fred L. Sipes of Ekron in Meade County.
The Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award is made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of American Farmland Trust, Kentucky Agricultural Council, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts, Sand County Foundation, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Woodland Owner’s Association, Kentucky Tree Farm Committee, AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky, Kentucky Pork Producers, Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board, and the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.
ABOUT REDDICK FARMS
“It Starts With the Soil,” was the title of farmer and soil scientist Ray Archuleta’s address to the National No-Till Conference in 2017. What Brad Reddick and his son Joel heard that day about regenerative agriculture would change the way they farm.
Archuleta promoted eliminating tillage, growing diverse winter cover crops, planting corn and soybeans into cover crops, reducing synthetic input costs, and grazing livestock on row crop acres. The Reddicks would soon implement all of these conservation practices. They remained profitable and noticed a profound impact on their Carlisle County farm.
The way their soil cycles water, nutrients, and carbon vastly improved. Their 1,800 acres are now a regenerative showcase. The backbone of this change was switching from vertical tillage to no-till, and replacing single small species of cover crops to diverse, large cover crops.
Not tilling soil prior to planting crops each spring increases the soil’s infiltration and conserves moisture, which buffers against drought.
The Reddicks’ unique cover crop system builds soil organic matter, reduces erosion and suppresses weeds. A blend of cover crops species is custom matched for each field’s crop rotation. The covers are planted immediately after the fall harvest and grow until they are flattened by a roller-crimper the following spring.
Cover crops absorb nutrients and then release them back to feed corn plants as they mature. This win-win scenario reduces nutrient loss by storing it in the cover crop and later increasing corn fertility and yield. This natural uptake of nutrients reduces the need for commercial fertilizers.
Reddick Farms incorporates manure from its beef cattle herd and litter from its poultry broiler flock into its fields with low soil disturbance equipment to improve their soil’s biological properties. Soil and tissue samples are tested to ensure that phosphorus and other fertilizers are not over-applied.
The Reddicks see erosion as a symptom of a larger problem rather than the problem itself. Erosion is the result of a broken water cycle when soil cannot infiltrate the water falling onto it. Soil tests have shown a reduction in the volume of nutrients leaving fields after just three years of cover crops and limited fertilizer use.
The Reddicks adopted cost-effective conservation practices to improve regional water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Wildlife habitat is provided in the farm’s wooded areas that are enrolled in a conservation reserve program. Elsewhere, there are 40 acres of buffer strips along creeks and 20 acres of perennial waterways. Rock chutes of loose riprap-lined channels safely convey water to a lower elevation while protecting the soil surface.
Tile drainage is used to lower the water table of fields near creek bottoms. It prevents surface drainage and allows the soil to filter nutrients from water before its released into the creek.
The Reddicks’ cattle are fenced away from waterways to prevent stream bank erosion. A benefit of their rotational grazing system leaves the height of grazed pastures tall enough to capture and soak in rainfall instead of letting it run off.
Brad Reddick’s not shy about sharing his successes and failures with other farmers. He promotes sustainability at every opportunity since that fateful presentation in 2017. His message always starts with the soil.
THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD
The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). www.leopoldconservationaward.org
SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION
Sand County Foundation inspires and empowers a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean and abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. www.sandcountyfoundation.org
AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through its No Farms, No Food message. Since its founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families. www.farmland.org
KENTUCKY AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL
The Kentucky Agricultural Council is a 501(c)(3) organization consisting of some 80 agricultural organizations representing all sectors of Kentucky agriculture. The membership is composed of commodity groups, state and federal agricultural organizations, agricultural trade organizations and the state’s institutions of higher education that serve Kentucky agriculture. The KAC functions as an umbrella group and hub for its members, disseminating information and promoting coordination among all agricultural organizations and sectors. Since 2006, the KAC also has served as the “steward of strategic planning” for the future of Kentucky agriculture and Kentucky’s rural communities. www.kyagcouncil.net.
KENTUCKY ASSOCIATION OF CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
The Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts is 501(c)(3) organization consisting of Kentucky’s local conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts. KACD encourages the exchange of information relating to the administration and operation of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts; to affect cooperation between districts and agencies and organizations concerned with any and all phases of soil and water conservation; to promote the welfare of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts and the people therein; and to maintain strong and active membership in both KACD and the National Association of Conservation Districts. http://www.kyconservation.com/