Charles Clarke is Conservationist of Year for Sumter
DAWSON — The Lower Chattahoochee River Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors and its local sponsors held their Annual Conservationist of the Year banquet at the USDA Service Center in Dawson in January. Charles W. Clark is this year’s Conservationist of the Year winner for Sumter County.
Clark began his farming career by share cropping in 2000. His farming operation currently consists of approximately 1,200 acres of row crops which include cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, and wheat. He participates in various conservation programs such as: NRCS’ EQIP program, FSA’s CRP program where he planted 65 acres of loblolly pine, and NRCS’ CSP program where he incorporates crop rotation with a cover crop, advanced irrigation water management, and pest management. Conservation practices implemented include: strip till/no till methods, planting and maintaining cover areas for quail, wildlife food plots for turkey and deer, and planting cover crops on his own. In addition, he has converted all his pumping plants from diesel to electric energy, installed low pressure drop nozzles on center pivots, as well as converting a drainage area to a five-acre irrigation reservoir through the Ponds Program. Clark also uses remote soil moisture monitoring devices to conserve as much water as possible.
He is not involved in the day-to-day farming operations at this time; however, he is very involved with the farmers that rent from him. He has continuously tried to implement conservation practices that improve the farm and make it a very desirable farm to rent along with improving wildlife and aquatic habitat at the same time.
Clark graduated from the University of Georgia in 1977, with a degree in ag economics. He is a board member of Colony Bank in Cordele. He and his wife Dee have been married for 27 years. They have two daughters, Elizabeth and Caroline, and are members of the First Baptist Church in Cordele.
Clark said, “What a privilege it is to be the steward of this resource and have the opportunity to implement practices that will help conserve it for our children and future generations. I thank and give God the glory each day for blessing me in such an incredible way.”