A sign recognizing him as 2006 Cooperator of the Year was presented to Mike Sloan during the 63rd annual meeting of the Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District held at the Ashland County Career Center recently.
An Ashland County landowner in Mohican Township, Sloan had traditionally rented out his cropland to local farmers on an annual basis prior to 2000, while he worked off the farm.
At about that time, he and his son, Matt, became interested in raising beef cattle and decided to convert the cropland to pasture and adopt a rotational grazing system.
Management. He applied for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program in 2002 with a conservation plan that included several pasture management practices to be installed over several years through his local Soil and Water Conservation District office.
He had approximately 15 beef cows with replacements at that time. Today, he still works off the farm, but has successfully converted the 50 acres of cropland to all grazing and his herd has doubled.
His conservation practices completed to date are rotational grazing, fencing, heavy-use feeding pads, four watering troughs made of recycled tires, a stream and woodland exclusion and 42 acres of timber stand improvement.
Steward. At the same meeting, Warren Drouhard was selected as the Woodland Stewardship Award recipient.
To be selected to receive this award, parties must demonstrate sound conservation practices while incorporating proper management decision to protect the environment with forest management.
Drouhard and his family have owned a property along state Route 95 in Ashland’s Green Township for nearly 55 years. In 1983, the state forester marked the land’s timber and it was sold and harvested by Gross Lumber Company, hence began the woodland management.
In 2003, the state forester again undertook a review and a forest management plan was developed. The property needed improvement with the control of the wild grapevines.
By 2006, the total of 47 acres within the plan was completed.
Several windstorms made timbering necessary. This year, the property has been approved for more vine control under the EQIP program. The total of 30 acres in this area is expected to be completed in fall and winter.
Horizon Awards. A number of other awards were presented at the meeting, including the district’s Horizon Awards.
The recipients of the Honorary Horizon Award were the family members of the late Giles B. McClaflin of Ruggles Township, and the second Horizon Award was presented to the Welch brothers, Eugene and Dean of U-Dean Farms.
The conservation practices of McClaflin began in the 1950s when the family farm consisted of 365 acres with a herd of 20 Herefords and 30 Ayrshires with fields that needed draining. He bought a ditching machine and began tilling his own farm with a No. 1 Buckeye ditcher.
Before long, the neighbors discovered the value and good skills McClaflin developed and they were asking him to ditch and tile their farms, too.
He put in miles of tile in Northern Ashland, Huron and Lorain counties. He put in the water lines at Findley State Park, Rolling Acres Golf Course and Paradise Hill in Richland County.
In 1992, McClaflin parked his ditcher behind the barn at age 82, where it sat until his death in 2001.
Receiving the award were sons Fred, Dan and daughter Jeannie.
Since the 1950s, the Welch Brothers of Polk have put into practice techniques that work best for the rolling land and the clay soils of Jackson Township.
Today, they farm about 800 acres.