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Five Farm Families to be Recognized at FSR

LONDON, Ohio — Five Ohio farm families will be recognized for their conservation work at the Farm Science Review Sept. 23 at the Lawrence G. Vance Soil and Water Conservation Park.

The Ohio Conservation Farm Family Award is sponsored by Ohio Farmer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources, Hancor Inc. and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. The winning families are recognized for steps they have taken to install a variety of conservation practices ranging from special rotations and reduced tillage practices, to stream buffers, spring developments, grass waterways and heavy-use pads for livestock.

“Together these families practice stewardship and care for the land on 10,000 acres in the Buckeye state,” said Tim White, editor of Ohio Farmer. “The extra steps they have taken set an example for other farmers as well as other businesses around Ohio. What they have accomplished is not the result of some trendy impulse. These families have installed a broad spectrum of conservation practices over several generations that truly improve our natural resources and save our soil and water.”

Farm Science Review will take place Sept. 21-23 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio. The awards ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the stage in Lawrence G. Vance Soil and Water Conservation Park, located at the corner of Beef Street and Friday Avenue of the exhibitor grounds.

Since 1984, the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Award program has recognized 141 Ohio farm families for their exemplary efforts of conserving soil, water, woodland and wildlife and other natural resources on the land they farm. Conservation farm families also host a variety of educational programs, opening their farms to schools, scout groups, and farm organizations.

“These awards recognize farm families who have gone the extra mile to protect the environment while producing the food and fiber crops that are such an important part of Ohio’s economy,” said David Hanselmann, chief of the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources. “Not only do all Ohioans benefit from the practices these farmers are using to prevent soil erosion and water pollution, but they also serve as an example of what individuals can do to conserve natural resources.” Hanselmann serves as coordinator for the program.

In addition to receiving $400 each from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the families are featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer and receive plaques from Hancor Incorporated. Ohio Farmer has sponsored the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Awards since the program’s inception. Nominations are sought annually between January and May.

Area 1 Winners – John Buck farms more than 700 acres in Marion County. Major crops include soybeans, corn and wheat. Conservation techniques utilized include no-till, buffer strips, grassed waterways, crop rotation and developing a 36 acre wetland. In 2009, John won the American Soybean Association Conservation Legacy Award and the Ohio Corn & Soybean Environmental Stewardship Award. John has also been recognized by the Ohio House of Representatives, the Ohio Senate, Governor Strickland and U.S. Senator George Voinovich for his conservation practices. When asked to describe his conservation philosophy he said, there is always more that can be done to protect our resources of land and water. We should be attentive to this responsibility every day.

Area 2 Winner – Eugene and Dean Welch farm more than 760 acres in Ashland County. Corn, soybeans, wheat and hay are the major crops. Dairy cows and steers are also raised Conservation techniques utilized include grassed waterways, heavy use pads, woodland exclusion, filter strips, crop rotation and a managed woodlot. They have hosted farm management tours, dairy tours and the drive-it-yourself tour. They also promote conservation education through their involvement with Ohio Holstein Association, Farm Bureau, OSU Extension and the local SWCD. When asked to describe their conservation philosophy, they said, we are stewards of soil and water, sustaining and improving resources entrusted to us by our families…passing land unharmed and enhances to future generations.

Area 3 Winners – Stanley & Rick Moore farm more than 2,900 acres in Harrison County. Alfalfa and hay are the primary crops. Cattle and sheep are also raised. Conservation practices include crop rotation, the installation of 100 acres of contour strips and 10 acres of grassed waterways. Fencing has been installed to prevent livestock from entering steams. They also have a manure nutrient management plan for their farm. The Moores have been district cooperators for nearly 50 years. Cottage Hill Farm has hosted numerous agricultural and conservation tours for FFA students, Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences/Animal Science and Farm Bureau, sharing ideas, information and concepts. The Moores were selected Harrison County Conservation Farm of the Year in 2004. When asked to describe their conservation philosophy, they said they like to use our natural resources to provide food and at the same time being respectful stewards of the land for future generations.

Area 4 Winners – Larry, Richard and Sam Kinney farm 3,600 acres in Logan County. Principal crops are corn and soybeans. Conservation techniques being utilized include no-till, grassed waterways and filter strips. They currently have 2,400 acres enrolled in the Conservation Security Program. Fertilizers are applied using a precise soil zone system so that fertilizer applications are applied only where needed. A 12-acre wetland has been developed on the farm. R & K farm has been a host site for the Top of Ohio Drive It Yourself Tour, a three-day event where students and visitors learn about agriculture and the conservation practices that are used on the farm. When asked to describe their conservation philosophy, they said maintaining soil quality and the commitment to implementing conservation practices in order to have a farm for their kids and grandkids.

Area 5 Winners – Martha Gerber Rittinger farms more than 2,000 acres in Ross County. Major crops include corn, soybeans and wheat. Conservation techniques used include no-till, cover crops when needed, crop rotation, grassed waterways and both grass and forested filter strips. They have been district cooperators for 57 years. Maple Monte farms has been host to numerous Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and 4-H clubs for nature study, camping, and merit badge projects. The Rittingers have also hosted several women’s groups from developed and underdeveloped countries to demonstrate the farming and conservation techniques being utilized. When asked to describe their conservation philosophy, they said it was to preserve, enhance, restore, conserve and promote agricultural practices for the benefit of this and future generations.

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