Hidden Acres Farms Invests Resources into Self-Sustaining Operation, Investing in our Planet this Earth Day and Every Day

There is a lot of heightened focus around recycling and investing in our planet this time of year, specifically on Earth Day – April 22. Yet Dan Kelley of Hidden Acres Farm is recycling biosolids this Earth Day to boost pasture and grow hay to feed and nourish his cattle to achieve a self-sustaining operation. Simply put, the beneficial use of biosolids is the epitome of recycling in agriculture. Not to mention, the use of biosolids can reduce the need for commercial fertilizer, improve soil health, and strengthen the economy of a farm while adding a relatively newly learned benefit – sequestering carbon.

Having grown up farming and taking care of sheep and cattle, Dan and his wife Carol have continued to care for Carol’s family farm for the last 20 or so years.  They take pride in caring for their cow-calf operation and utilizing the latest technology to bale hay, which they use for feed as well to sell to others for feed for horses, cattle, and sheep. 

The Kelley’s are great stewards of the land – taking care to sample soils to apply only what nutrients are needed, rotate their cattle, and have taken advantage of cost-share dollars to fence off ponds to minimize runoff.

On Earth Day, and year-round, the Kelley’s and farmers across the Commonwealth are playing a critical role in the environment by recovering and reusing valuable and limited resources through the use of biosolids. Kelley is diligent when it comes to not wasting resources and products on the farm. The use of biosolids on agricultural land is nothing new, and for farmers there are some obvious benefits to its use.  “It boosts soil quality, being a less expensive option compared to chemical fertilizer, and is better used on fields than being sent and dumped at costly landfill sites,” said Kelley.

Fortunately, the use of biosolids is one way to manage waste all while feeding the soil at the same time. Farmers, like the Kelly’s, have found that biosolids are a proven and effective natural alternative to chemical fertilizers because they do more than just replace nutrients, they actually improve the health of the soil and allow for the slow release of key compounds like nitrogen and phosphorous. Additionally, research has proven that biosolids hold water well, which helps reduce the amount of water needed to grow crops; and biosolids, as Kelly said, are an excellent addition to soil because they help grow plants quickly, reduce erosion and reduce the effects of runoff.

Not only are Dan and Carol Kelley investing resources into a self-sustaining operation, but they are also ultimately investing in our planet, on Earth Day, and every day.