The Switzerland County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Annual Meeting will be held tonight (Thursday), and Shamrock Acres of near East Enterprise is being honored this year as the District’s “Conservation Farm of the Year”.
And it’s truly a family farm.
The Greens run the farm, led by Lowell Green and his wife, Luanne. Sons Brian and Greg are a big part of the farming operation; and daughter Peggy also has a stake in the farming operation.
Lowell and Luanne Green purchased the farm from Luanne’s father, I.F. Judy, in 1985; and prior to that the couple farmed Lowell’s father’s farm at East Enterprise.
Both natives of Switzerland County, the Greens raised their family here, planting family roots that still run deep.
Along with the farm, Lowell Green was also working at Plastic Moldings Corporation in East Enterprise and Osgood, so he left much of the day to day farming to sons Brian and Greg. Lowell still drives to the Plastic Moldings plant in Shelbyville, Indiana, to work.
Brian handles much of the daily operation of the farm, running the nearly 385 acre operation, which includes the three farms that the corporation owns, as well as ground that it cash rented. Greg works another job in Richwood, Kentucky, but then lends a hand on nights and weekends, whenever he can.
The family raises corn, soybeans, and some hay; but the main crop that the farm handles is tobacco. With the burley buy out program hitting nearly a decade ago, many of the smaller tobacco growers chose to get out of raising the crop all together, but the Greens have flourished in their operation.
“It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it works out well,” Lowell Green said. “We probably grow 50-60 acres a year.”
It’s tobacco that keeps the family busy, so busy, in fact, that Brian and Greg will not be in attendance to be honored at tonight’s Annual Meeting, as they will be at a tobacco meeting in Jonesville, Kentucky.
The Greens rotate crops year to year; raising about 115-120 acres each year of corn and soybeans; with the remainder in tobacco.
“Brian and Greg each have their own lots,” Lowell Green said.
Shamrock Acres has a contract with Phillip Morris, U.S.A. to buy its tobacco.
In terms of conservation, Lowell Green said that the family works to rotate crops; and in terms of the tobacco patches they work to re-seed them during the winter months.
“We re-seed the tobacco patches with wheat and radishes as a cover crop, and then we chisel plow it under,” Lowell Green said. “It does well for us. It keeps the ground in place. We also try and mulch our corn fields so it gets mixed in during the fall.”
Lowell Green said that most of the farmland that Shamrock Acres farms doesn’t erode a lot, staying basically in place unless the area suffers a really bad storm with rain.
“The tobacco beds are bare through the winter, so the radishes come up pretty fast, so that works well for us,” he said.
All of the cropland is no-till, again preserving the soil.
The family raises its own tobacco plants, floating them since the beginning.
“We started out with little tiny plugs, and then we made our own hand seeder with trays,” Lowell Green said. “Then we went ahead and started doing it automatic.”
So, with all of the work and all of the Greens, Shamrock Acres is truly a “family farm”; something that is fading away from the American landscape.
“There’s not very many, they’re dwindling fast,” Brian Green said. “I’m glad we’ve kept ahold of it as long as we have. It can get tight sometimes, but our grandparents farmed this land. That’s important to us.”
Over the years, the family sees many differences in how the farming operations have changed.
“With before, you used to look at around Thanksgiving as to when you were just starting or getting going,” Brian Green said. “Now, with technology, if you’re not done by Thanksgiving then you’re behind. The technology has really helped.”
With smaller farms now going by the wayside, larger producers also rely on advanced farming technology and innovations in equipment to help them get more done with less help and with less time.
“We are honored to have this award,” Lowell Green said. “It means a lot to our family; and we are proud to be a part of the farming community here in the county. We just keep doing what we do. It all turns out all right in the end.”