PFB member Brubaker Farms is the 2021 recipient of the Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award®.
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat resources in their care.
In Pennsylvania, the award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, American Farmland Trust, The Heinz Endowments, and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
The Brubaker family was revealed as the award’s recipients at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. The dairy and poultry farmers from Mount Joy in Lancaster County receive $10,000 for being selected.
“The Brubaker family provides us with a comprehensive example of how farmers build upon their environmental stewardship successes. Luke, his sons Mike and Tony, and now Josh, have taken the lead in conservation practices and continue to serve as an example of environmentally and community-minded innovation,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert. “The Brubaker’s commitment to being good stewards and good neighbors shines through in the overall success of their dairy and poultry farm.”
Brubaker Farms is a showcase for agricultural conservation amid more than a half million residents in Lancaster County.
With residential developments bordering its 1,800 acres, Brubaker Farms is where rural-urban interface occurs. Its neatly manicured farmstead is home to 1,300 dairy cows and 52,000 broiler chickens. Despite its size, the farm’s public outreach and neighborly farming practices are a selling point when nearby homes are on the market.
Choosing conservation projects with dual economic and environmental benefits has defined the Brubaker’s philosophy on land stewardship and growth.
Luke Brubaker and his sons, Mike and Tony, were early adopters of soil health and nutrient management practices, and energy-producing technologies. Their land ethic has been passed on to Josh Brubaker, who recently became the fourth generation with a stake in the farm’s ownership.
“Were very humbled to be selected, because there are a lot of other farms that are doing really good things that deserve recognition,” said Mike Brubaker. “We care. We care about the community we live in, we care about our team workers on our farm…and we care about healthy, happy animals.”
Among the practices implemented on their farm, the Brubakers plant cover crops, practice no-till farming, planted 15 acres of riparian buffers, use an anerobic digester and dragline apply manure on 500 acres. They also produce enough energy on the farm to power 475 homes with their methane digester and solar panels.
“We care about the air quality, the soil quality and the water quality; the resources that we use to take care of our animals and to feed our families and to be a good part of the communities around us,” Mike Brubaker said.
As a frequent site for tours on conservation, sustainability, animal welfare and modern farming practices, Pennsylvania’s newest Leopold Conservation Award recipient shows the synergy between profit, people, production agriculture and the planet.