WALNUT CREEK, Ohio — The Holmes County Soil and Water Conservation District celebrated its best in conservation at the annual banquet, held Nov. 18 at the Carlisle Village Inn in Walnut Creek.
The Friend of Conservation Award went to Congressman-elect Bob Gibbs, who currently is serving as state senator in the 22 district.
Gibbs is no stranger to the county, having served on the Holmes SWCD board from 1998-2000, during which he also became president of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
He is a former livestock producer and has helped represent agricultural interests on the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and as vice chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“We appreciate that Bob understands the benefits of conservation to Holmes County and all of Ohio,” said district supervisor Jason Schuch.
The honor was received on Gibbs’ behalf by state Rep. Dave Hall, of Ohio’s 97th district.
Taking outstanding farm honors was Fair Farms, just southwest of Millersburg. Mike and Amy Fair operate a 200-acre grain and beef operation, growing corn and soybeans and finishing about 260 steers a year.
Mike Fair developed a Compreshensive Nutrient Management Plan and Conservation Plan for his farm in 2007, with help from Natural Resources Conservation Service and Holmes SWCD. The plan improved nutrient management by managing the “amount, form, placement and timing” of nutrient application.
The Fairs participated the last two years in their district’s aerial cover crop program, and have helped advance the program by providing seed handling equipment at the local airport.
The district also recognized the younger generation of conservationists — winners of the Tom Graham Fifth-grade Conservation Farm Tour essay contest.
This year, more than 500 fifth-graders and teachers from East and West Holmes schools toured One-O-One Ranch, owned by the Tom and Sarah Miller Family. Then, they wrote an essay about their experience.
First place went to Andrew Hopkins of Lakeville Elementary School. He is the son of Bob and Jennifer Hopkins and penned the essay Comedian Cow Communicates Conservation.
Lance Troyer of Walnut Creek Elementary School took second, and Megan Morrison of Millersburg Elementary School took third.
In other honors, the district recognized Dean Slates, a retired Ohio State University Extension Educator and a part-time SWCD employee. Slates was inducted into the Farm Science Review Hall of Fame this fall, where he has lead the pesticide applications technology site since 1989.
Slates developed a “one-of-a-kind” sprayer used for demonstrations at the review each year.
The district also recognized retiring employee Bill Long, who helped develop the Alpine Nutrient Trading Program and the aerial cover crop program.
The banquet meeting concluded with announcement of supervisor elections. Jason Schuch and Harold Neuenschwander were elected to new terms.