The 64th annual meeting of the Ashland County Soil and Water Conservation District was held with numerous landowners present for the picnic-style lunch, election, presentation of awards and numerous educational displays for the children and adults.
The “No One Left Inside” theme meeting was held on the grounds of the Ashland County West Holmes Career Center with toastmaster of the program, Bob Brightbill, leading the meeting.
Educational displays included stream monitoring, gardening, bird watching, orienteering, corn hole, ladder golf, soil painting and other outdoor activities.
Judy Shafer announced the top county soil judging winners. The rural soil winner was Nick Farquhar and the Urban Soil Contest winner was Jake Wilson.
Loudonville FFA envirothon team was honored as the highest placing county team at 2008 Area Envirothon. Members of the team included Jake Wilson, Doug Wilson, Sheena Burwell, Justin Ziegler and Brent Allerding. Ziegler represented the team at the meeting and received award medals for each of the members.
The 2008 Woodland Owner of the Year award was presented by Director Jerry Yeater to John and Barbara Swingle.
The husband and wife team acquired their Ashland County Lake Township farm in 1999 and started their woodland management activities in 2000 continuing through 2001 by having an Amish crew harvest the timber.
Their farm plan was developed in 2003. In February 2006, John Jolliff, Ohio Division of Forestry Service forester, reviewed their property for a potential EQIP timber stand improvement project. In March 2006, John prepared a forest stewardship management plan on 91.1 acres of woodland and a tree planting plan for an EQIP program for 3.9 acres with 2,700 seedlings.
In August 2007, they completed 50 acres of timber stand improvement with vine control under the EQIP program. Thirty acres of vine control was completed in March 2008 and in April they planted their 2,700 seedlings.
Director Bob Brightbill presented the 2007 Cooperator of the Year to Matt Steiner of Pine Hill Dairy with farm manager Fred Hartzler present to accept the award.
The election results were presented by Clark Hutson, Area 1 and 2 program administrator with the re-election of Robert Brightbill to serve another three-year term.
Comments on the progress with the extensive log jam program was shared by Director Chairman Jim Barr. Two more phases are planned to serve a large portion of Ashland County residents with better drainage with the Jerome Fork and Muddy Fork cleared of logs.
This project has been a joint effort with Ashland and Wayne counties with funds support by the state.
Don Kettering presented Glenn E. Mutchler as one of two 2008 Ashland Soil and Water Conservation Horizon Award honorees.
Mutchler was a lifelong farmer, specializing in dairy farming, tree farming and raising breeding stock with the Gem Hill prefix.
He was the recipient of the 1992 Ohio Senior Breed Builders Award from the Ohio Holstein Association, the 1995 Ohio Tree Farmer Award from the Ohio Forestry Association, the Ashland County Tree Farmer Award and the recipient of many Ashland County dairy service awards.
Barr and Maxine Swaisgood also honored the late Raymond E. Swaisgood with the Horizon Award.
Swaisgood was an active member of the Farm Bureau Tri Council and was a 4-H adviser for 24 years. He served on the Ashland Equity Exchange Board for six years.
In 1969, he was elected to the Ashland Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors. He served as the equipment manager for four years when the district was helping farmers build concrete water tanks. He was the treasurer of the board at the time of his death July 19, 1975.
Cooperator of the Year
The Cooperator of the Year Award was presented to Pine Tree Dairy located in Orange Township and owned by Matt Steiner.
The Fred Hartzler family currently manages it for the owners who own and operate another dairy outside the county.