York County farmer Leroy Bupp is a no-till pioneer doing what he can to reduce polluted runoff locally and flowing down to the Bay.
“Did you ever see Mother Nature grow grass or trees by plowing or tilling the soil?” Leroy asks. “It’s tillage and oxidation that gets rid of organic matter.”
Leroy and his wife Joyce have been using cover crops and a legacy of no-tillage to improve soil health on the farm that has been in his family for more 240 years.
Leroy was in the 12th grade when he bought the farm from his grandfather in 1963. “I paid a whopping big $45,000 for 140 acres,” he said. “Can you imagine that? You pay that for a pickup truck today.”
Today, Bupplynn Farm is in three parcels of about 310 total acres. They have 18 steers and grow corn, beans, and wheat. “I moved from one side of Interstate 83 to the other side, and that’s all the farther I ever got in life,” Leroy says. In 1969, his grandfather bought the first planter in the area, and Leroy has been a no-till farmer since 1972. “I can see the results of it,” he says.
“The clear water that ran from our farm for a month after last year’s dozen inches of rain in a few days’ time reinforced our beliefs in improved soil health, which captures the rain and holds it in the ground for slow release. It is a key factor in working to improve water quality in the Chesapeake watershed,” Leroy says.
A late-summer weekend on the Bay with watermen and other farmers from Pennsylvania was Leroy’s first true Bay experience. It reinforced his commitment.
The 74-year-old went home to York County feeling more strongly connected. “I preach ‘Clean up the Bay, clean up the Bay.’ Of course I can see why,” Leroy says. “It’s really nice to see the other side.”