For Daryl Maple, Maple Farms is much more than just a farming operation. It’s a legacy. Purchased by his great-grandfather in 1930, Daryl – alongside his cousins, brother and father – still own and operate the original 160 acres, in addition to the expanded area that has come with more than 90 years of experience. Being among the fourth generation taking over the farm gives Daryl an inherent sense of responsibility to maintain the rich soils his part of the country is known for.
“We just wanted to find ways to make our farm more sustainable. That word has been a very big buzzword the last four or five years, and so sustainability means different things to different operations and growers. For us, we’re trying to find a way to be economically sustainable, and environmentally sustainable as well.”
Maple Farms’ partnership with SHP started in 2016, and the family has since been experimenting with reduced tillage and cover crops. Along the way, they’ve valued the non-stop learning process that comes with on-farm research of this type. Whether it’s figuring out the best kind of equipment to use for field prep that won’t also cause significant cover crop damage or determining the best method for cover crop seeding that allows for good establishment around their cash crop harvest schedule – the lessons seem to always keep coming.
“We’re very blessed and we have good crops year in, year out. And so, for my family and most of the farmers in this area, we just do what we’ve always done,” Daryl said. “[But] we’re trying to bridge that gap and figure out how to do reduced tillage and still get the high yields and produce the high-quality, high-value crops that we like to grow on this farm.”
Tune in to the full episode of The People of Soil Health – using the player above or subscribing in your favorite podcast player – to hear more about the journey Maple Farms continues to take toward improved soil health and building a legacy for their farm.