On April 29th, the Runnels Soil & Water Conservation District #232 named their Outstanding Conservation Farmer:

Schraer Farm is the Runnels Soil and Water Conservation District’s Outstanding Conservation Farmer. Wesley, his wife Nancy and son Nathan, farm in the Miles area. As a man that knows the true meaning of the word “conservation”, he is always looking for wise conservation practices that protect the land resources and keep it healthy and productive.

The Schraers do a combination of conventional tillage and no till. They have found that some of their land does need a little extra care, so they manage the land as needed to conserve the soil and water. Crops are rotated with cotton, wheat, milo and hay grazer. Depending on the weather conditions they normally plant about 50 percent cotton, 30 percent wheat, 10 percent milo and 10 percent hay grazer.

Along with all their crops, the Schraers also have a coastal field that they irrigate. They sell round bales of coastal along with the hay grazer that they raise. They have two pivot systems installed with the EQIP program. They rotate their cattle and sheep through the coastal field. All the work done on the Schraer farm is completed by Wesley, Nancy and Nathan except for baling hay. They find it more cost effective to hire that chore for them.

The Schraer farm diversifies with cattle and sheep. They have a cow/calf herd and Dorper sheep.

They are under contract to build 36,600 ft of level terraces. The Schraers have recently worked with the District and NRCS to install 17,556 ft of level terraces in an EQIP contract that is completed. The Schraers are very pleased with the outcome of their efforts. As land and water continuously grow scarce each day, the Schraers believe the EQIP program is a great benefit in helping them with their farming endeavor.

Farming is the Schraer’s lifestyle, and they will do whatever they can for proper stewardship to their land and the way of life that they cherish. The Schraers think it is not enough to simply protect the land, but you also need to make it better for future generations.

They have a 6.5 acre waterway which was installed with an EQIP contract. Wesley and Nathan are constantly staying on top of new improvements in varieties of crops, equipment, marketing, and crop management and these practices have paid big dividends to the Schraer farming operation. Going to the NRCS Cover Crop field day provided ideas to better their farming operation.

Nathan carries some of his knowledge from his livestock showing in 4-H and FFA to the farming operation. He was very successful showing pigs for several years. As a family they continue to help with the area stock shows.

They continue to serve the youth of Runnels County by cooking at the Runnels County Gala which is the biggest fund raiser for the county 4-H. They have been volunteering to do this very rewarding fund raiser for several years and they also lend a helping hand by cooking for various fund raisers around the area for families in need of financial assistance.

With help from his wife Nancy and son Nathan, Wesley can keep a keen eye on his soil, water and plant management. Add to that a sharp pencil figuring his input costs, the Schraer farming operation will continue to be a shining example of West Texas dry land farming in Runnels county. Farming is a challenging career and the Schraers meet this challenge daily.

These are the reasons the Runnels Soil and Water Conservation District is proud to have the Schraer Farm as their Outstanding Conservation Farmer.