Meuer Farm receives 2015 Leopold Conservation Award
David Meuer considers himself lucky to have been introduced to conservation practices through his father, who saw value in investing in the health of the land. When David purchased his own land and took over his father’s farm, he continued to uphold the conservation ethic his dad instilled in him.
Along with his wife Leslie, David manages a remarkably diverse 150-acre farm, just east of Lake Winnebago in Chilton. Their farm consists of beef cattle, egg layers, bees, pumpkins, strawberry fields, row crops and grains.
The Meuers have always worked with the land rather than against it. The cattle are grass-fed and rotationally grazed on 30-ares of sloping pastures. Relying on the stream running through their land to provide water for their cows, they installed stream bank fencing to help hold the soil in place and keep the water clean as it empties into Lake Winnebago.
The natural springs in their pond are used in their drip irrigation for strawberries, reducing their water use by 40% and eliminating the need for a high-capacity well for overhead irrigation.
Recognizing the value in sharing space with wildlife, the Meuers converted one of their crop fields into a food plot for wildlife. David attributes the food plot as the reason why they lost no deer or turkey during a particularly frigid winter recently.
Tapping the sugar maples on their farm has resulted in a robust maple syrup business. They have also begun harvesting puffball and morel mushrooms, wild plums and black walnuts from trees planted by David over 30 years ago.
A unique aspect of their farm is their heavy emphasis on agri-tourism. More than 30,000 people from all over the country visit Meuer Farm each year to learn about farming and challenge their sense of direction in the corn maze. The Meuers also host farm-to-table dinners during the summer months and bring in local chefs to prepare meals featuring produce grown on the farm.
“If Aldo Leopold himself had ever met David or his father, I firmly believe he would have been impressed by their quiet, persistent passion and land ethic,” said Rock Anderson, retired Calumet County Conservationist.
Sand County Foundation is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is Wisconsin’s largest general farm organization. It represents nearly 24,000 farms and agriculturists who belong to one of 61 county Farm Bureaus found across the state. Much like Wisconsin’s diverse agricultural landscape, Farm Bureau members represent all farm commodities, and all farm sizes and management styles. Farm Bureau’s mission is to lead the farm and rural community through legislative representation, education, public relations, and leadership development.
The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, is a membership organization that supports the efforts of 450 Land Conservation Committee supervisors and 350 conservation staff in 72 county Land Conservation Department offices through training, conservation standards development, youth education, grants, partnership building, and advocacy.