Donald “Donnie” Collins, Jr. farms over 1,500 acres with a poultry and grain operation near Millsboro. Growing up on a farm, Donnie was familiar with SCDs agriculture and equipment programs. He gained insight into the sediment and stormwater program during his 12-year tenure as a board member. Today he prepares, protects and preserves natural resources on his land through cover crops and drainage improvements. Tax ditch cost-share funds allow him to maintain critical drainage infrastructure to protect land and residents within the watershed and the Inland Bays.
“You get a lot of help when you go to the district,” says Collins.
Collins adds that knowledgeable staff provides technical assistance which, “makes it a good partnership.”
Of the four different tax ditches within eyesight of his operation, Collins is chairman of two. SCD provides tax ditch organizations with technical and financial assistance to maintain and repair these vital drainage systems. Mowing must be done regularly to prevent saplings from rooting and blocking the flow channel while dip outs remove accumulated sediment. Additional resource concerns may include erosion caused by wildlife, such as deer, crossing ditches.
Tax ditches keep his land productive by removing excess water, but some fields needed a little extra help. Tile drains were installed in several low areas to improve drainage which outlet to nearby tax ditches. Less sediment and fewer nutrients are entering waterways because Collins practices no-till and plants cover crops which improves water quality in the Inland Bays. Although he was skeptical at first, Donnie has seen, first-hand, the many benefits of adding cover crops to his operation.
- Donnie Collins with his four-legged farm hands
- A no-till field with cover crops has tile drainage discharging into a tax ditch
- Aerial seeded cover crops in a no-till field.
- A recently mowed tax ditch bank.
- Tax ditches can become overgrown in a short period of time which impedes drainage. (Photo shows two years of growth.)
- SCD will repair and add stabilization to an eroded ditch bank.
- Paths created by wildlife crossing ditches can lead to erosion.