Loretto Motherhouse Farm Wins Conservationist Award
By Angela Rakes, Education and Outreach Coordinator for Loretto Motherhouse
As part of the 2021 Loretto Community Assembly, Loretto Motherhouse Farm Director Cody Rakes, my husband, shared with the Community how combating climate change and caring for Earth is a pillar of the farm’s work. Recently this work was recognized and honored with the Marion County Master Conservationist Award from the Marion County Conservation District.
This award recognizes the farm’s conservation work, including the use of cover crops, no-till planting and intensive rotational grazing. It’s also awarded based on the cooperation of the farm with state and national conservation programs, including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that includes pollinator habitat, native grasses and hardwood tree plantings; the CRP Grasslands Program that includes protecting the majority of the cattle pasture; the Environmental Quality Incentive Program that has helped the farm install cattle waterers and cross fencing in pastures; and the Forest Stand Improvement Program for managing the vast woodlands at the Motherhouse. The Master Conservationist Award is the highest award of recognition presented by the Marion County Conservation District to a landowner for individual land stewardship efforts. Fewer than 2% of private landowners or farmers are recognized as Master Conservationists.
Working with the Conservation District also requires the farm to complete an agriculture water quality plan that helps ensure that all practices are implemented while protecting precious natural resources. Protecting Earth is a passion we all share, and that passion is driving the work of the Loretto Motherhouse Farm.
Cody, his assistant, Trent, and representatives from the Farm and Land Management Committee of the Motherhouse Coordinating Board accepted this award at the Marion Conservation District’s annual banquet after Cody gave an inspiring presentation about the farm’s conservation efforts. As we continue to plan for the future of the Loretto Motherhouse Farm, it is exciting to receive this award acknowledging what we have accomplished thus far.