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2023 Conservation Farmer of the Year

Posted on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 8:30 am

2023 Conservation Farmer of the Year:  Nathan Brandon of River Rock Farms

Each year the Marshall County Soil and Water Conservation District recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the conservation of natural resources on their farm. This award is part of a state program sponsored by the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts (TACD) with the cooperation of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA).

The district is proud to announce Nathan Brandon of River Rock Farms as the 2023 Marshall County Conservation Farmer of the Year. Mr. Brandon purchased River Rock Farms in 2018. River Rock Farms is in the Verona Community of Marshall County where he focuses on raising grass-fed cattle. Starting out, Nathan considered producing hay because of his experience with forages but the monetary and ecological costs were too high. When Mr. Brandon found River Rock Farms for sale, he saw it as an opportunity to provide quality grass-fed beef direct to consumers and preserve the quality of soil on his farm by using prescribed grazing.

Nathan started working with NRCS and the district in 2020 where he installed 1,803 feet of interior fence, 3,083 feet of exclusion fence along East Rock Creek, and over 5,000 feet of temporary polywire fence to intensify his rotational grazing system. Along with the fencing, he implemented new heavy use areas around his water facilities to decrease erosion and added one water facility so he could graze more acres on his property. River Rock Farms started working with the Marshall County SWCD and NRCS in 2020 and has continued to work with us through our CSP and EQIP programs where he has enhanced his operation by monitoring his grazing system, adding in annual grasses, and stockpiling grasses for Fall grazing. Nathan has also started focusing on the wooded acres of his property by applying for a forestry management plan and installing a pollinator plot to encourage pollinators and beneficial insects. The Marshall County Soil Conservation District would like to thank Nathan Brandon of River Rock Farms for protecting the natural resources of our county through his conservation practices.  By implementing these practices, River Rock Farms is not only protecting land and water, but he is also setting a great example for others to follow.