Land improvements, cover crops help Cory Word become national finalist in the Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management Placement Proficiency Award
Land stewardship. It’s top of mind for Cory Word, and it helped him become a 2020 national finalist in the Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management Placement Proficiency Award area. Working for his grandfather at Hellwege Farms LLC, Word helps maintain and improve land quality for the row crop, hay and beef cattle operation.
In his role there, Word repairs and creates new waterways and integrates cover crops to improve soil health and prevent erosion. He also assists with manure management for the farm’s feedlot.
“My SAE (supervised agricultural experience) has taught me environmental stewardship as I take care of the land the most effective way, and my engagement in natural resource management has helped me achieve my goals in my diversified agricultural production experience.”
With little forehand knowledge of natural resource management, Word began by maintaining the farm’s current waterways. He then worked to repair and reseed those areas with wheat and fescue to prevent soil erosion and future washouts.
“One challenge I faced with my SAE was bad field conditions for planting due to increased rainfall in the fall and a lengthy harvest due to weather conditions,” Word explains. “The lengthy harvest left crops in the field during the time the cover crops should have been planted. When field conditions finally improved, I did not have much time to plant the cover crops.”
Word says his knowledge of environmental science and natural resources increased dramatically throughout his SAE. While he began his project with an academic knowledge of cover crops, waterways and erosion, he says his placement SAE helped him implement that environmental and natural resources knowledge.
“My SAE has taught me to be responsible with my time and passionate about agriculture and environmental practices for the future,” Word says. “Good stewardship of the land and the future viability of the land is something I have become very passionate about.”
by Joann Pipkin