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In the words of Sam Cantrell...
My family moved out to the country in the early 1950's. In those days, much of Chester County and specifically the area around Ludwig's Corner, West Vincent Township, could accurately be called "country". (Since then, of course, we've seen some changes...)
Initially, we farmed the property on a "homesteading" basis and later the fields were rented to tenant farmers who were conventional corn growers. By 1986, when the Federal government opened the Conservation Reserve Program, the farm qualified as "heavily eroded cropland." We entered it into the Conservation Reserve Program, implemented a conservation plan, and agreed to keep the fields out of production for at least ten years.
Now the time has come for the farm to move on to its next incarnation. We could "grow" houses, as most of the other farms in the area have done. Or we could again rent the fields out to a conventional tenant farmer and think nothing more about them for a few years until they again qualified as "heavily eroded."
Or we could accept the responsibility that comes with land ownership and an ecological ethic and implement a management plan that sustainably utilizes the resources available.
That's the choice I've made; to accept the challenge of establishing an agricultural operation based on sustainability, to have the farm become my career, to utilize this wonderful resource to fulfill my commitment to conservation and education.