Ricky Dollison is a fourth-generation Black farmer from Poulan in Worth County, Georgia. He is the proud owner of Dollison Farms, a 220-acre operation established by his grandfather almost 75 years ago. Ricky attributes his diverse agricultural knowledge to his father, who taught him and his siblings how to operate a farm and manage the land. Now, Ricky is investing in the conservation of the farm to secure its future for his children and generations to come. 

Dollison Farms growa corn, cotton, and peanuts in rotation and raises hogs and cows. Ricky also runs a meat company called Warrior Creek Premium Meats, which specializes in whole hog sausage.  

On the farm, Ricky uses a three-way cover crop mix of black oats, wheat, and rye on every acre he cultivates. He uses cover crops for weed suppression, which helps him reduce his herbicide costs. The moisture retained in the soil from his cover crops also results in more rapid germination of his cash crop seed.

Ricky uses a variety of tillage practices on his land, including strip-till. Although he wasn’t initially a fan, the cost savings soon changed his mind. He said, “I don’t want to go out there and harrow two or three times, then turn the land, then come back and smooth it off with a harrow again. With diesel getting to the cost it is now, it became a no-brainer.”

Besides saving money and improving soil health, Ricky’s soil management practices have boosted biodiversity, encouraging wildlife such as turkeys to breed and raise their young in a place where they know they will be looked after.

Ricky has also been working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conversation Service (NRCS) to install fencing to rotationally graze his livestock. He plans to add irrigation and more fencing in the future to expand his rotational grazing capacity, increase his livestock operation, and help his farm continue to thrive.