Lone Oaks Farm Field Day

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By Nancy & Tommy Brannon

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Beautiful Lone Oaks Farm in Hardeman County was the site of a Grazing and Forages Field Day April 24, 2015, hosted by the Hardeman County Soil Conservation District, UT Extension, TN Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Owners of Lone Oaks, Scott and Kathy Ledbetter, were on hand to welcome the approximately 80 guests and to co-host the event. The Ledbetters have put a lot of work into the 2,000 acres of land they have consolidated from acquiring more than 30 contiguous parcels over the last ten years – and it shows!
A large portion of the farm will soon become a 4-H Center. The Tennessee Legislature recently authorized approximately $16 million for UT’s new West Tennessee 4-H Camp and Conference Center.  The Center will provide youth in west Tennessee with an interactive environment to learn about STEM subjects, natural resources and agriculture.  West Tennessee was the State’s only grand division without a 4-H Center.

First on the agenda was Brian White , UT Extension, describing the types of forages, mainly for cattle, in west Tennessee: best management, fertility, and heights best for baleing.

Next, Buddy Rowlett form Stay Tuff Fence showed attendees how to install woven wire, “Not your daddy’s woven wire,” he said, fencing sturdy enough to hold cattle. He showed how to install brace posts and how tighten it to the middle for strength and durability.

Dustin Graham with NRCS demonstrated how to install automatic watering systems for cattle, using as example the Ritchie waterer. He explained how the heat well, using a large section of plastic pipe, keeps pipes from freezing by keeping air around the pipe, using geothermal heating.

Ron Blair, UT Extension, talked about fish pond management, starting with explaining carrying capacity of any given area and how to figure the carrying capacity utilizing the size of the area/pond and the size of the fish occupying it.
Attendees then loaded on hay wagons to take a farm tour, seeing the native grasses field, cattle grazing, and the cattle handling facility designed on Temple Grandin’s research and recommendations.

Just before lunch, Gary Moore from the Land Trust for Tennessee told attendees about conservations easements and their advantages, not only for preserving farmland in perpetuity, but also the income tax breaks that these easements mean for landowners.

Lunch was a delicious meal of BBQ ribs, beef brisket, potatoes, baked beans, and corn on the cob.

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