Paul enjoys being ‘in the field’

Published 6:27 am Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don Paul has been “in the field” since he was big enough to drive a tractor.

And, while he was behind the wheel, he must have gotten bitten by a pesky bug that caused farming to get in his blood.

“I loved being on the farm and I haven’t gotten over I, yet,” Paul said.

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His efforts earned him the 2011 Pike County Farm-City Conservation Award, presented during a banquet hosted by the  Pike County Chamber of Commerce Farm-City Committee last week.

Paul was a row crop farmer for several years and he and his dad operated a hay baling business.

He enjoyed row crop farming because of the closeness to the land but now he concentrates on raising beef cattle.

“I got interested in beef cattle about 40 years ago, when I raised my first calf along with my dad’s herd,” he said. “I thought then that raising beef cattle was something that I would enjoy and I do enjoy it. I work with Air Tech, so it’s really like two jobs but the cattle keep me ‘on the farm.”

Paul maintains a herd of 60 brood cows and has two farms, one in the “bluegrass” around Henderson and the other in Crenshaw County.

His 160-acre Pike County farm is located in the Henderson community. The farm has 120 acres of Bahia grass pasture, 40 acres of Hybrid Bermuda for hay and the remainder is in forest for steam protection and shade.

“Each year, I over seed pasture and hay land with annual ryegrass for grazing and hay production,” he said. “I fertilize with chicken litter and mineral fertilizer and control weeds chemically and mechanically. Odd areas of pasture are planted for food plots for wildlife.”

Paul recently participated in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to improve the grazing plan for his farm. He installed a 240-foot well, which he said was rather deep for his part of the county.

“The average well is 110 feet but we went a lot deeper because we wanted a good water supply,” he said. “I ran pipelines to troughs to provide clean water for the livestock and installed cross fencing to aid in rotational grazing.”

Paul completed his EQIP contract, which was administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, in a timely manner. He is also involved in the management of 40 acres of family land established to plant pine.

Paul and his wife, Amy, live on the farm.