What would we do without our farmers?

Congratulations to the Schrack family for Schrack Farm Resources LP of Loganton being named the 2018 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the year.

It’s a national honor. (Page A1, The Express, March 5, 2018)

Given right here in Clinton County.

Jim and Lisa Harbach and Kevin Schrack, Lisa’s brother, are partners in Schrack Farm Resources, and they operate the award-winning farm with the help of their children and grandchildren, who now represent the 11th generation on the land.

That’s right … 11 generations.

That translates to the family working as farmers since 1773.

Heck, the farm should be a national landmark!

And talk about family bonds!

The award is presented by the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Herd Management Magazine.

Farming requires a strong work ethic because it is hard work … work made even more challenging (but fullfilling) when those who see themselves as stewards of the land practice their passion.

In the case of Schrack Farms, the family operation employs progressive land management practices that include the use of no-till planting on the more than 2,500 acres of cropland, the nurturing of their land’s soil structure and health, commitment to clean water and sustainability.

In operation since before our country was founded, the Schrack family “has learned a thing or two about the natural environment and the importance of farming practices that focus on conservation,” the magazine (found online at www.dairyherd.com) wrote. “Today, the family is managing a 1,100-head dairy herd while advocating for no-till farming, maintaining soil health and promoting awareness of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

Schrack Farm Resources also was an early adopter of renewable energy technology and installed one of the first methane digesters in Pennsylvania.

Now the farm generates revenue by selling power back to the grid and reduces electricity costs for the farm. “These endeavors rocketed this multi-generational dairy farm into the forefront of farming practices today,” the IDFA and magazine said.

“We’re pleased to honor Schrack Farm Resources because their operation effectively demonstrates that investment in environmentally friendly practices can lower costs, provide new revenue streams and offer greater efficiencies on the farm,” said Michael Dykes, IDFA president and CEO. “Also, we commend the partners for continuing to educate local legislators and their community about their operation’s positive economic and environmental benefits.”

“Because of (The Schrack Family’s) advocacy and testimony to the benefits both to the farm and the surrounding community, our state now has a set metering law that allows farms to generate revenue from this energy stream,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, who nominated the farm for the award.

The Schracks probably will tell you they’re like many of the farm families in our region and across the nation.

And thank God for them.