2005-12-22 / News

Help island farmers buy a no-till seeder

The owners and managers of the farms on Conanicut Island want to complete the purchase of a no-till seeder to be shared by all members of the island’s farming community. From left are Mike Swistak of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, George Neale of the Neale Farm, Don Minto of the Watson Farm, Gail Chase of the Hodgkiss Farm, and Jessie and Joe Dutra of the Dutra Farm. At right is Charlotte Richardson of the Conanicut Grange. Photo by Donna Drago The owners and managers of the farms on Conanicut Island want to complete the purchase of a no-till seeder to be shared by all members of the island’s farming community. From left are Mike Swistak of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, George Neale of the Neale Farm, Don Minto of the Watson Farm, Gail Chase of the Hodgkiss Farm, and Jessie and Joe Dutra of the Dutra Farm. At right is Charlotte Richardson of the Conanicut Grange. Photo by Donna Drago Jamestown’s farmers have been raising funds to purchase a no-till seeder that they will share co-operatively.

A no-till seeder is a machine that will help in the improvements planned for the island’s grasslands without the wear and tear of traditional plowing. The machine reduces the amount of fuel used to establish new plantings, reduces carbon released into the atmosphere, reduces soil erosion, and enhances biodiversity in the forages for livestock and wildlife. More important, improved grasslands will aid in the filtering of surface water and protect the island’s ground water as well. Funds raised for this purpose assist the Jamestown farming community in many ways and help in the preservation of the island’s productive agricultural lands.

The Jamestown Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in raising funds for this project, primarily through money raised at Night at the Farm held at Watson Farm for the past two summers and from private donations. To date, $9,700 has been deposited in an account set up by the Conanicut Grange and the Rhode Island State Grange Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization.

The goal is to raise $12,500 by the end of the year so that the machine can be purchased and used for spring planting.

Businesses and individuals who would like to donate to this cause should make checks out to Rhode Island State Grange Foundation. Donations are tax deductible. Send them to the Rhode Island State Grange Foundation, c/o Conanicut Grange, 6 West St., Jamestown, RI 02835.

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