(06/30/21) NEWELLTON, La. — Following in many generations’ worth of farming footsteps, Mead Hardwick is proudly representing the Hardwick family and Hardwick Planting Company as the 2020 Outstanding Master Farmer.
Hardwick was presented with a plaque and two monetary awards sponsored by the Louisiana Land Bank and Gowan Company at the Cotton and Grain Field Day held on the Hardwick’s Somerset Plantation on June 24.
The Louisiana Master Farmer Program helps agricultural producers voluntarily address environmental concerns while enhancing the production and resource management skills they need for the continued sustainability of Louisiana agriculture. The LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Farm Bureau, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service help lead Master Farmer trainings.
The program teaches producers across a wide range of agricultural and natural resource enterprises about environmental stewardship, conservation-based production techniques and resource management.
“It is an honor to receive this award,” Hardwick said. “It is important to know that the efforts you’ve made are validated. It also means that we are equipped with the tools to care for our property and our farming heritage that will sustain it for generations to come.”
Hardwick left a career in Dallas to come back to the farm where he said he grew up hunting, fishing, riding horses and running free on a 20,000-acre playground.
“I wanted my kids to be able to have that,” he said. “Compared to living in Dallas and traveling for my career 180 days out of the year, the farm just made the most sense in terms of being able to have a better quality of life and getting out of the big city.”
Hardwick Planting Company is a family owned and operated agriculture business focused on progressive and sustainable farming practices. The company’s mission is to achieve a safe, efficient, profitable and sustainable farm enterprise that pursues the ethical stewardship of all land resources with minimal impact upon the farm ecosystem.
“The agriculture industry as a whole is incredibly important to the state of Louisiana so we need to preserve and protect the resources that are so vital to a large portion of our economy,” said Hardwick. “It is important to maintain productivity for generations beyond just ourselves and carry on a farming legacy.”
By being a master farmer, Hardwick said he knows that we are using the best possible methods and practices to be positive stewards of the land.
Hardwick said he would like to see other farmers be proactive regarding environmental conservation.
“People are becoming more and more aware and conscious and worried about the environment, and agriculture is often scrutinized and not put in a positive light in that regard,” he said. “We need to be on the forefront of change because the last thing we want is sweeping regulation to come in and tell us exactly how we have to farm. We need to be able to address sustainability and environmental impact on our own. We need to offer up solutions.”
Pictured from left to right: Dr. Michael Salassi, Stephen Austin, President of Louisiana Land Bank, and Eric Bergeron, Representative of Gowan Co.