The Reid Dairy Farm in St. Clair County, Mich., is proof that a livestock and crop farm can grow in size and not lose sight of protecting the environment.

Over the past five years, farm owners Jim and Pam Reid, of Jeddo, Mich., have nearly tripled the size of their dairy herd and instituted multiple conservation practices on their farm, including achieving verification in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).

In recognition of their proactive efforts, the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) presented its Ecology Leadership Award to the couple at the recent MFB 91st Annual Meeting, and a new John Deere Gator, compliments of Fillmore Equipment, Hamilton Farm Bureau, Crystal Flash Energy, Syngenta Crop Protection, CJD Farm Consulting, and Dennings and Associates.

The MFB Ecology Leadership Award is given to an individual, farm or partnership whose natural resources stewardship practices contribute to the protection of the environment, while maintaining or enhancing productivity and profitability.

The Reids, who milk 170 cows and grow soybeans, wheat and corn on 1,000 acres, were nominated for the award by the St. Clair County Farm Bureau, and selected from 17 nominations submitted by county Farm Bureaus across the state.

In nominating the pair for the honor, St. Clair County Farm Bureau President Ryan Schweihofer praised the farm for successfully making numerous environmental improvements while also increasing milk production and being among the state's most productive dairy farms.

"The Reid Dairy Farm showcases how Michigan farmers care about the environment and demonstrates that farmers can expand their businesses and continue to protect the environment through innovative practices," says MFB agricultural ecology specialist Emily Ries. "Jim and Pam Reid's unwavering commitment to safeguarding Michigan's natural resources make them deserving recipients of the Michigan Farm Bureau 2010 Ecology Leadership Award."

Just this year, the Reid Dairy Farm became verified in MAEAP, a voluntary program that encourages Michigan farmers to adopt cost-effective pollution prevention practices in compliance with state and federal environmental regulations. MAEAP offers three narrowly focused tracks, and farmers have the option of pursuing verification in one or more systems. The Reids are verified in all three: one focused on the livestock end of their business; a second on the crop side of the operation; and a third on the general farmstead.

Source: Michigan Farm Bureau