Bucklin man honored for conservation efforts
For Robert Barnhardt, the quest for soil conservation is about maintaining the land that has been in his family since the 1870s when his great grandfather bought 320 acres in Leavenworth County.
This year, the retired banker has been honored with a Leavenworth County 2007 Kansas Bankers Association Conservation Award for soil conservation.
"I have put most of the cultivated acres into CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) where erosion was a big problem," Barnhardt said. "Now we pretty well have the water erosion stopped on most of the land."
For years Barnhardt and his brother, Bill, have been working the land to try to prevent water erosion, which Barnhardt said was his biggest problem.
"So far I've tried to get control of it," Barnhardt said. "The water erosion in Leavenworth County is a big problem. There are ditches and gullies and big creek channels. It's an ongoing challenge. It isn't something that you can say I'll ever be through with."
Another big challenge for Barnhardt is his location. While the family's land is in Leavenworth County, he resides 300 miles southwest in Bucklin.
Since he inherited the land from his father, Barnhardt doesn't make as many trips to the county as he used to.
When he does make it Leavenworth County, he and his brother spend time planting CRP grass mixtures, filling ditches and returning brush patches back to grass.
And just because Barnhardt is not in town the Leavenworth County Conservation District has noticed the work he's put in. Susan Garrett of the conservation district said district officials have noticed how the land was being maintained and how Barnhardt had been taking care of the native grasses.
Barnhardt said all the effort that he has put into the land has been well worth it.