Darren and Brenda Peters: Doing More

With 20 ALUS projects so far, Darren and Brenda Peters are doing more for soil conservation

 “To us, it is important to conserve the soil on the farm for future generations. ALUS will enable us to do more to protect PEI’s streams.” -ALUS participants Darren and Brenda Peters, of Somerset Farm in Maple Plains, P.E.I. (Photo: Shawn Hill)

“To us, it is important to conserve the soil on the farm for future generations. ALUS will enable us to do more to protect PEI’s streams.” -ALUS participants Darren and Brenda Peters, of Somerset Farm in Maple Plains, P.E.I. (Photo: Shawn Hill)

Darren and Brenda Peters have been farming together for 21 years on Somerset Farm in Maple Plains, P.E.I., and have been ALUS participants for eight of those years. As farmers, they produce potatoes, carrots, soybeans, cereals and forages using a five-year crop rotation plan. But as ALUS participants, they produce ecosystem services on their many ALUS projects.

“PEI soils are highly erodible by nature,” says Darren Peters. “The ALUS program helps us establish projects that conserve soil on the farm, which is a win-win for everyone.”

For example, the Peters family have already retired 12 acres that were so steeply sloped that keeping them in annual crops would have contributed to excessive soil erosion. As ALUS projects, these acres now produce ecosystem services instead.

The PEI ALUS program has also helped the Peters implement soil-conservation projects on 19 farmed fields. These include more than 12,000 feet of permanently grassed waterways, 6,000 feet of terraces, nearly 300 feet of berms, and buffer zones around the perimeter of the fields—all clever methods of trying to reduce soil erosion.

Somerset Farm has many fields that border on the Southwest Brook, a major tributary to the Dunk River which flows through the community of Kinkora and is renowned for trout fishing.

Dunk River PEI

The beautiful Dunk River, downstream from Somerset Farm in Maple Plains, P.E.I., where Darren and Brenda Peters have been ALUS participants since 2010. (Photo: Shawn Hill)

“To us, it is important to conserve the soil on the farm for future generations,” says Darren. “ALUS will enable us to do more to protect PEI’s streams.”

In recognition of their ongoing efforts to conserve soil resources and their commitment to sustainable agriculture practices, the Peters won a PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association’s Soil Conservationist Award in 2016.

What’s more, as part of their efforts to farm more sustainably, Darren and Brenda intend to continue implementing many more ALUS projects in the years to come.

Somerset acres retired from cultivation

One of Darren and Brenda Peters’ ALUS projects, this parcel of land has been set aside from agricultural production in order to produce ecosystem services instead. The PEI ALUS program has helped the Peters family implement soil-conservation projects on 19 farmed fields, and to retire 12 acres (like this) from cultivation. They intend to establish many more ALUS projects in the years to come. (Photo: Shawn Hill)

 

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