Nestled down a half-mile long lane in the Musconetcong Valley, is the Beatty Farm. Owner and operator, Bernie Beatty, was born in 1950 and has been basically farming ever since. The Beatty Farm was a once a booming dairy farm, and a past awardee of the Dairy Producer of Distinction Award, an award given to those operations with outstanding farm facilities and stewardship. The milking herd was sold in 2013, and only 7 milking cows remain, but the Beatty Farm operation has made the transition to crop farming. Today, the Beatty’s grow corn, wheat, soybeans and alfalfa on their crop fields. In addition to their crop program, and handful of milking cows, they also now have a small herd of goats on the property.
This River Friendly® Certified Farm is comprised of 117 tillable acres, 80 of which were part of the NRCS/North Jersey RC&D aerial cover crop seeding program. The cover crop, which produced great results, has definitely been a beneficial component to the crop operation. This year, the cover crop seed mixture was comprised of cereal rye, crimson clover, red clover and tillage radish. Previous to his inclusion in the aerial cover crop seeding program, Bernie was running only a single species cover crop and drilling it in after crop harvest. This method often proves difficult, as success tends to be reliant on a number of different factors including weather, timing of harvest, and specific cover crop species limitations due to shorter growing degree days.
The River-Friendly Farm Program, directed by North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize farms that protect our shared natural resources through responsible management. Producers seeking certification are evaluated on their soil loss management, pesticide management, nutrient management, conservation buffers, and irrigation water management. The Beatty Farm has been a certified River-Friendly Farm since 2014, the first within the Musconetcong Valley to earn such recognition.