OHIO’S TOP CONSERVATION FARMERS SLATED FOR HONORS
AT THE UPCOMING FARM SCIENCE REVIEW
Honorees are from Hardin, Ashland, Muskingum, Montgomery and Brown counties
COLUMBUS, OH -- Ohio's top conservation farm families for 2007 will be honored on Thursday, September 20 for their long-standing dedication to natural resource conservation during 11:30 a.m. ceremonies at the 24th Annual Farm Science Review near London. The annual award is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Soil & Water Conservation, Ohio Farmer magazine and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
The families slated for recognition are Eugene and Mariann Royer of Hardin County, Kenneth and Dorothy Stitzlein of Ashland County, Irv and Jean Bell of Muskingum County, Roy Sollenberger Jr. of Montgomery County, and Tom and Marilyn Cluxton of Brown County.
Since 1984, the Conservation Farm Family Awards program has recognized more than 125 Ohio farm families for their exemplary efforts in conserving soil, water, woodland, 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, farm organizations and others.
"The Ohio Conservation Farm Family Awards recognize farm families who have gone the extra mile in protecting 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 & Water Conservation. "The practices these people use to prevent soil erosion and water pollution benefit all Ohioans, and 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 also featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer magazine. Ohio Farmer magazine has sponsored the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Awards since the program's inception. Nominations are sought annually between January and May.
For Further Information Contact:
Jane Beathard, ODNR Media Relations
Blaine Gerdes, ODNR Soil and Water Conservation
EDITORS NOTE: Profiles of the 2007 Conservation Farm Family Award winners are below.
Area 1 Winners – Eugene and Mariann Royer farm 1,285 acres in Hardin County. Major crops include corn, soybeans and wheat. Cattle are also raised. Conservation techniques used include no-till, crop rotation, 3,000 linear feet of grassed waterways, stream fencing to prevent livestock from entering streams and prevent erosion. Eugene also installed manure storage and secondary fertilizer containment with a roof to prevent nutrients from leaving the farm. They have been district cooperators for more than 39 years. They hosted the OSU Twilight Tour in the summer of 2006 to demonstrate their newly established secondary containment facility. They also hosted a tour of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association to showcase their operation. When asked to describe his conservation philosophy, Eugene replied, “To leave the farm and surrounding environment in better shape than when they began.”
Area 2 Winners – Kenneth and Dorothy Stitzlein operate a diverse 560 acre farm in Ashland County. Major crops include corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Cattle are also raised. Conservation practices include no-till, steam exclusion in two pasture fields, selective tree harvest to maintain a healthy woodlot, and installation of 2,200 feet of grassed waterway for controlled drainage. The Stitzleins hosted the 2003 Ashland County Farm tour with demonstrations of access lane, heavy use pads and rotational grazing. They also conducted Pioneer Field Days for several years and collected data on no-till test plots for corn and soybeans for 15 years. They have been district cooperators since 1968. “We are privileged as temporary stewards of this land and we must conserve natural resources for future generations,” Kenneth said, regarding his farming philosophy.
Area 3 Winners – Irv and Jean Bell farm 1,415 acres in Muskingum County. Principle crops include corn, soybeans and small grains. Hogs are also raised. Grassed waterways were installed to address erosion problems. Grass layers were planted on steep slopes to prevent runoff and provide habitat for birds. Buffer strips were installed along the river to prevent fertilizer and nutrient runoff. Environmental education is an integral component of the Bell Farm. In 2007, the Bells hosted the Michigan Young Farmers Tours. In 2006, Bell Farms received the Resource Conservation Award from the Muskingum SWCD. The Bells have been district cooperators for more than 30 years. Their conservation philosophy is to maintain the land for future generations to use and enjoy.
Area 4 Winners – Roy Sollenberger Jr. farms 1,752 acres in Montgomery County. Corn, soybeans and wheat are the major crops. Cattle are also raised. Conservation techniques include filter strips along both sides of a perennial stream, livestock exclusion, no-till, grassed waterways and utilizing a precision nutrient management plan using grid soil sampling and GPS mapping to plan fertilizer rates. Roy has been a district cooperator for more than 48 years. When asked to describe his conservation philosophy, he replied, “Conservation makes economic sense. No-till farming saves not only soil, but time and work also. Nutrient management reduces fertilizer expenses while preserving water quality.”
Area 5 Winners – Tom and Marilyn Cluxton farm 1,080 acres in Brown County. Major crops are hay, soybeans and corn. Cattle are also raised and the farm is home to a cow/calf operation. Conservation practices include no-till, cover crops, crop rotation, grassed waterways and 22 acres of filter strips. This five-generation farming operation has been used on numerous occasions to promote conservation and natural resource management. The Ohio Livestock Coalition, 4-H clubs, Farm Bureau, alumni groups and cattlemen’s associations from surrounding states have visited the farm to see the conservation practices being utilized. The Cluxtons have been district cooperators for 20 years. Their conservation philosophy is to make sure their grandchildren will have the opportunity to enjoy farming the way they have.