Hobart Family of Blanchard 2007 Cooperators of the Year
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Hobarts The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District (PCSWCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have announced that the Hobart's of Breakneck Ridge Farm in Blanchard are the 2007 Cooperators of the Year. Steve and Diana Hobart and family have been selected to receive this award because of the many conservation practices that they have implemented. The Hobarts will be honored during the conservation district's Annual Tour and Luncheon. This will be held at Breakneck Ridge Farm, which overlooks Russell Mountain and the Piscataquis River Valley, on Friday, July 27th from 9:30AM to 1:00PM.

Each year the district recognizes a Cooperator in Piscataquis County who has implemented exceptional conservation practices on their land. Because both of Steve's grandparents were involved in the conservation district, and Diana is a fifth generation farmer, they have always been very conscientious of the importance of practices to keep the soil and water strong so that the land can sustain itself.

At Breakneck Ridge Farm they strive to retain traditional values mixed with modern technology. Steve works the land year round, while Diana is a sixth grade teacher at the Piscataquis Community Middle School in Guilford, working the land in addition to this. They manage the pastures and forests, a herd of over 50 buffalo and also maple syrup production. They have a wholesale and retail business through regional markets, their store at the farm, and through their website, which also features their unique recipes and a schedule of events that they host on their land. In addition, Steve and Diana are both very active in local civic organizations. They have previously been recognized as Cooperators of the Year in 1990 and also as Maine's Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 1995.

The Hobarts have implemented practices such as no-till seeding, management of high use areas, a unique watering system, manure storage and sediment retention erosion control on their woods roads all to protect the soil and water. Good forestry practices have helped the land to be self-sustaining. The Hobarts acknowledge that good conservation practices can be labor intensive and require an initial investment but with the NRCS's cost share programs better practices may go into place. This helps the land more. According to the Hobarts, "If you take care of the land then the land will take care of you."

These practices will be highlighted on a tour that will be led by Gordon Moore of the Maine Forest Service, David Power of the NRCS and Steve Hobart. This will be followed by a picnic luncheon and awards ceremony. The picnic luncheon will include specialties of the farm such as shaved buffalo meat sandwiches and garden salad with their homemade Maple Italian Dressing, as well as additional seasonal foods. The cost for this will be $6.00. The public is invited to attend the Annual Tour and Luncheon to learn more about the conservation practices and to lend a hand to applaud the Hobarts as 2007 Cooperators of the Year. Please confirm your attendance by Friday, July 20th by stopping by the district office at 42 Pine Crest Drive, Dover - Foxcroft, calling 564 - 2321, extension 3 or e-mailing info@piscataquisswcd.org.

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