A strong voice is not always musical

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I had heard about a TV show and have seen the previews of a weekly production called The Voice.

Somewhat curious as to the format, I looked up the website and found that the program features strong vocalists from across the country. Each week, these artists vie for success in their field through a process that includes decision making, consensus and voting.

Not all of us have the skills that would land us a spot in a musical venue, however many of us have a great passion for the success of agriculture and the support of natural resource conservation.

With that being said, your local soil and water conservation districts are seeking individuals to “fill those spots” to continue with the legacy of public involvement to best manage the natural resources in their counties.

Boards take action

Across the nation, a soil and water conservation district’s governing board is comprised of citizens who come together and represent landowners and users in their district (county) and ensure a local voice in conservation.

In Ohio, special elections are held in each county, conducted on behalf of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, to elect soil and water conservation district board members to serve three-year terms. With input from local land users and businesses, county elected officials and agency partners, the five-member board of directors, through the decision-making process, create and develop the strategies and work plans to support efforts to protect the resources in their county.

Agricultural pressures

There is a soil and water conservation district organized in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, many since the 1940s, established to be the locally led “boots on the ground” to assist with the implementation of farm conservation practices to keep soil in the fields and out of the waterways.

With current environmental pressures on agriculture, the districts continue to provide the technical assistance and outreach in partnership with the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and analyze programs and policy issues that have an impact on the cooperating landowners and operators.

Board members strive to maintain a continuing dialogue with local elected officials and legislatures.

Changes in landscape

As land use has shifted due to a variety of factors, so has the service delivery of many districts. Urban land users, contractors and developers, small hobby farm operators, failing home septic system owners, lawn fertilizer users and a multitude of other land users contribute to the reduction of water quality.

District boards have recognized the importance of providing the education and outreach to a wider audience of stakeholders to address their missions of “protecting and conserving their county’s natural resources.”

Need your voice

Many of Ohio’s soil and water conservation districts are preparing right now for their annual meetings that focus on the election of board members. Their nominating committees are seeking individuals who are willing to come together to prioritize the needs of the residents and assist with the management of the land and water in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Granted, we may not all be invited to sing on a nationally syndicated TV show, but we all can recognize the power of speech. Why not take the opportunity to choose to be “a voice for conservation!”

Contact your local Soil and water conservation district office today and be a part of the initiative to encourage conservation in generations to come.

About the Author

Irene Moore is the district administrator for the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District. She grew up in Jefferson County and has worked for the district for 23 years. She can be reached at imoore@jeffersoncountyoh.com. More Stories by Irene Moore

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