Dunlap Creek Inc. Named Co-operator of the Year

To co-operate is defined as working together, jointly or united in producing a common effect. Each year the Richland County Conservation District recognizes a local entity or individual that co-operates with the district on promoting or practicing conservation. For 2016 the Conservation District supervisors chose Dunlap Creek Inc. as the Co-operator of the Year. Dunlap Creek Inc. is a family operation, Matt and David Ler work together on their farm/ranch in the Savage area. They run a commercial cow/ calf operation and farm both dryland and irrigated cropland, raising winter wheat and spring wheat, alternating with safflower, peas and lentils. The irrigated ground is primarily for cattle feed with sugar beets as part of their rotation.

Matt and David have installed two pivots on their irrigated cropland, these pivots help conserve water making it available to other producers on the Savage Irrigation District system. They have also utilized the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana (SWCDM) Irrigation Water Management (IWM) program. This program assists irrigators in making decisions on the effectiveness of their irrigation practices and helps justify making irrigation adjustments on their systems. The Lers used the IRRO Mesh system for their IWM.

Matt and David co-operated with the conservation district on their aquifer study of the Lower Yellowstone. They visited with the MT Bureau of Mines and Geology and allowed them to drill test wells to help with the mapping of the aquifer.

Using the district cost share program, they installed solar pumps on two of their stock wells to help with their deferred grazing rotation. The Lers have also planted shelter belts through the conservation district tree program.

To improve the soil health of their land, they have begun to plant cover crops as part of their dryland rotation. They graze the cover crops, which helps take the stress off the native pasture.

Matt and David continually look for ways to implement conservation practices on their land co-operating with the Conservation District and the Local NRCS staff. Recently they entered into a Conservation Stewardship Program contract using the program to help them improve farming methods and to help sustain their operation and keep it as a family run business.

Matt and David work together on their operation and co-operate with the Conservation District and the Natural Resource Conservation Service to improve their operation for the next generation.


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