Chesterton Tribune



Valmere Farms named Conservationist of the Year

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The Porter County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) announced the selection of Valmere Farms, Jackson Township, as the recipient of this year’s Conservationist of the Year Award. The 330-acre farm, owned and operated by Rick and Debbie Matthys and family, includes pastureland, hay land, forest land with beautiful, mature sugar maples as well as rented cropland.

“Even before Rick came to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office to develop a conservation plan, he had already implemented a tremendous amount of conservation practices on his own,” said Derek Schmitt, USDA-NRCS District Conservationist for Porter and Lake counties.

Among the conservation practices for which the Matthys Family are being recognized, are the enhancement of a prescribed grazing system and pollinator habitat. Practices implemented to support the prescribed grazing system are multiple watering facilities with water pipeline and interior fencing to keep the livestock on a planned rotation. The rotation allows better vegetation regeneration, helping with issues like nutrient uptake, sediment reductions, and better forage quality. The pollinator habitat includes native grasses and flowers that support hundreds of native insects including monarchs and native bees.

Rick is proud to say it started with his grandfather Achiel Matthys. Achiel was a past Porter County Soil and Water Conservation Board Member more than fifty years ago, and his passion for conservation remains with Rick. The diversified family farm produces beef, elk, maple syrup, and honey while making a conscious effort to improve the environment.

The Matthys Family will be recognized at the 67th annual meeting of the SWCD to be convened in March 2020.


Posted 10/10/2019




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