2016 Cooperator of the Year
James H. “Jay” Baxter IV, of Baxter Farms Inc. in Georgetown, Del., is a fourth-generation farmer, working beside his grandmother and sister. Jay farms 2,000+ acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, sweet corn, and lima beans and has a 200,000 broiler chicken operation. Baxter recently put nine greenhouses in production growing contract wholesale potted plants. In an effort to build soil organic matter, Jay utilizes minimum-till, no-till, and cover crops. He began planting cover crops on a very small scale about 20 years ago as part of the requirement of applying wastewater irrigation. After seeing the benefits, Jay now grows cover crops on approximately 75% of his land utilizing multispecies blends of cover crops when possible. Due to time constraints, he can’t get all of the operation planted in cover crops. Baxter is always looking for new or more efficient methods of farming including but not limited to planting covers in late winter or early spring and using the District’s cover crop air seeder that plants cover crops into standing cash crops.
Jay is active in the community as a member of the Georgetown Fire Company, past Chairman of the Delaware Soybean Board, Director of the Sussex County Farm Bureau, a board of directors member at Crossroad Community Church, and is Chairman of the Epworth Christian School Board. As a father of four, it is very important for Jay to be able to pass the farm on to his children and their children.
Baxter was featured in videos by NRCS and SCD promoting conservation planning, soil health practices and the importance of being good stewards of the land for future generations.
- Jay brings his soil for show-and-tell at the 2020 Delmarva Soil Summit.
-NACD Soil Health Champions from Sussex County, Del. attend the cover crop workshop are, from left, James “Jay” H. Baxter IV of Georgetown, Vernon “Chip” Baker Jr. of Millsboro, Brad Ritter of Nassau, Guy Phillips of Georgetown, Steve Groff, owner of Cover Crop Coaching, and Blaine Hitchens of Laurel at the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.
- Dr. Kris Nichols examines the soil sample Jay brought to the 2020 Delmarva Soil Summit
- Jennifer Nelson, left, executive director of the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts, moderates the large-scale farmer panel while Chip Baker of Millsboro, Del.; Jay Baxter, of Georgetown, Del., Matt Fry of Chestertown, Md.; and Trey Hill of Rock Hall, Md. answer questions regarding soil health, challenges, successes and lessons learned during the 2020 Delmarva Soil Summit on Feb. 27 in Georgetown, Del.
- Jay works part-time as a model for SCDs cover crop program.
- Healthy soil on Jay's farm.
- The #TeamNoTill campaign was started in November 2020 by the Delaware Conservation Partnership; Baxter modeled the gaiter.
No-Till Farmer • July 30, 2020 • [Podcast] 7 Reasons to Use Cover Crops with Loran Steinlage and Jay Baxter
WMDT • Dec. 14, 2018 • Local farmers react to $867 billion farm bill
Delaware Online • July 3, 2018 • Farmers plant underwear to test their soil
Cape Gazette • May 7, 2017 • Governor recognizes Sussex farmer, garden for conservation efforts
Lancaster Farmer • May 12, 2017 • Delaware Farmer Comes Full Circle on Cover Crops