Cooperator of Year to Jamestown couple
Originally published April 17, 2013 at 6 a.m., updated April 16, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.
The 2012 Cooperator of the Year award was presented to David and Joyce Shaul, the Moniteau County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) annual awards dinner Tuesday, April 9, at the California United Church of Christ facility. The Shauls are owners and operators of Blackberry Hills Farm, located four miles northeast of Jamestown. The farm originally came to Joyce's family in 1874 at a cost of $4.75 per acre. Her great-grandparents John Henry Weisser and Maggie Belle Smith lived there from the time they were married in 1896 until he died until 1957. Bill and fay Weisser Reynolds lived there for the next 40 years. The farm went to Joyce in 1994. The house, built in 1904 at the same time as the barn, was completely updated in 1998.
The farm has produced a variety of crops and livestock. In the 1950s, Bill Reynolds and his father-in-law Floyd Weisser terraced the farm. Floyd did the planning and Bill most of the earthwork. Floyd worked for the SWCD in its early years.
The farm had been heavily grazed until the mid 2000s with resulting heavy damage to ponds and terraces. In 2007, Dave Shaul focused on repairing and reducing erosion, enhancing terraces for good field drainage and creating natural water sources for livestock and wildlife. Old water structures were demolished and new dams built. the Moniteau County SWCD provided assistqance in a number of ways, including seeding, drainage and ponds and dams.
They used the recommendations to construct one new pond, rebuild four other ponds, installed freezeproof waterers and a number of additional improvements including emplacement of 1,060 feet of field drains.
Improvements planned include new fencing to exclude livestock from the timber and a new deep well. The farm has been row-cropped and planted in soybeans for the last two years. Timber was taken off in 2012.
Joyce takes a lot of time to plant, tend and maintain her flower gardens as well as the blackberry bushes. She also sews and creates dresses for her four granddaughters. The three youngest grandsons enjoy the farm for fishing, riding the gator and "helping' with the work.
Joyce has been retired for several years. dave will retire from the Missouri Highway Patrol where he has worked for 33 years.
They plan to continue working on many projects which are in progress and which have been on hold for years.
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