Kaiser: Doing the right thing for a long time

Duane and Linda Kaiser of rural Durham have had a life-long commitment to soil conservation.

This Saturday they?ll be recognized for those efforts by the Marion County Conserva?tion District as winners of this year?s Continuation Award.

Duane Kaiser, 60, said his family also is privately celebrating that next year is the 100th anniversary of the ownership of their home farmstead. Their farmstead is 2.5 miles north and 2.75 miles west of Durham.

Over the years, Kaiser has added conservation practices to land he has acquired, including continuous Conservation Reserve Program waterways, CRP field seeding and terraces.

Most of his land is located near Marion Reservoir, which has enabled him to use funds from the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy program.

Kaiser also is known for encouraging owners of the land he rents to apply conservation measures as well. He said his landlords have been so cooperative in installing conservation measures that he hesitated to single any of them out for particular mention.

But, he said, one person who was influential in his farming career was Dennis Youk, who passed away last year after several years of service as chairman of the Marion County Soil Conservation District. He said he once worked for Youk, then turned around years later to rent land from him.

Kaiser believes he and all of his tenants see boosts in yields and income as a result of conservation practices.

Kaiser grows hay, wheat, corn, milo and soybeans on the land he farms. He also background feeds variable numbers of mixed-breed heifers.

Kaiser said he uses a blend of six to eight native grasses when sowing CRP land. For waterways, he plants brome grass.

Farming has changed a lot in recent years, Kaiser said. For instance, he uses minimum tillage on part of the land he farms. He said newer chemicals leave less residual carryover. He uses chemicals for such chores as eliminating volunteer wheat before planting to another crop without lasting harm.

Kaiser said he gets farm help from his brother Eldon?s two sons, Ryan, 23, and Neil, 18. At this time, he said, Neil seems to be the most inclined to come back some day to carry on the family farm tradition.

Besides improvements to his farm practices, Kaiser said he enjoys the benefits CRP and conservation have with wildlife. He said he sees a wide variety of wild birds and animals with no particular number increase of just one species.

The Continuation award is sponsored solely by the MCCD.

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