Alan and Stacy Spence recently were named Conservationists of the Year for Bulloch County on behalf of the Ogeechee River Soil and Water Conservation District and Farmers and Merchants Bank.
The Ogeechee River district played host to the 61st Annual Awards Banquet to recognize individuals that have made an outstanding contribution to soil and water conservation. The District encourages landowners to use conservation tillage as a cropping system, to install terraces and grassed waterways to reduce soil erosion and planting of grass or trees on highly erodible land to help protect streams. The District is made up of Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Evans, Screven and Tattnall Counties.
Lisa Hodges presented the award to Spence and Spence Farm, which is owned by brothers Alan and Stacy Spence. The brothers were born and raised on a farm as both their grandfather and father were farmers. Alan and Stacy tried their hands at other jobs away from the farm, but eventually their hearts got the best of them, each said.
Alan is married to the former Beth Akins, and the couple has one son, Hayden.
Stacy is married to the former Anna Ansley, and they have three children, Forrest, Page and Bo.
In 1985, Alan began farming a little on his own with Stacy helping him after school. In 1990 the partnership was formed. The farming operation consists of approximately 2,000 acres of peanuts and cotton, both in Bulloch and Jenkins Counties. In addition, they run a small herd of cattle.
The Spences, like most modern day farmers, feel a real need to leave the land in better shape than it was presented to them. They said they recognize the need to control soil and water erosion and increase organic matter.
As a result, in 2003 they made the decision to start strip tilling their cultivated acreage. Each winter, they do soil testing in order to maximize its use and have planted grass and pine trees next to streams and ponds to prevent erosion on land that was non productive. They also have participated in the NRCSA cover crop program in Jenkins County.
Bulloch County district supervisors Fred G. Blitch Jr. and Charles Finch, and NRCS personnel Jason Gatch and Glyn Thrift said Alan and Stacy Spence were an excellent choice for the award.