LONDON, Ohio — Five Ohio farm families received the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Award Sept. 23 at the Farm Science Review: John M. Buck, Marion County; Eugene and Dean Welch, Ashland County; Stanley and Rick Moore, Harrison County; Larry, Richard and Sam Kinney, Logan County; Martha Gerber Rittinger, Ross County.
The winning families are recognized for steps they have taken to install a variety of conservation practices, ranging from special rotations and reduced tillage practices, to stream buffers, spring developments, grass waterways and heavy-use pads for livestock.
“Together these families practice stewardship and care for the land on 10,000 acres in the Buckeye state,” said Tim White, editor of Ohio Farmer, one of the award sponsors. “What they have accomplished is not the result of some trendy impulse. These families have installed a broad spectrum of conservation practices over several generations that truly improve our natural resources and save our soil and water.”
John Buck farms more than 700 acres in Marion County, and his major crops include soybeans, corn and wheat. Conservation techniques utilized include no-till, buffer strips, grassed waterways, crop rotation and developing a 36-acre wetland.
In 2009, Buck won the American Soybean Association Conservation Legacy Award and the Ohio Corn & Soybean Environmental Stewardship Award.
Eugene and Dean Welch farm more than 760 acres in Ashland County. Corn, soybeans, wheat and hay are the major crops, grown as feed for their dairy cows and steers.
Conservation techniques utilized include grassed waterways, heavy use pads, woodland exclusion, filter strips, crop rotation and a managed woodlot. They have hosted farm management tours, dairy tours and the drive-it-yourself tour. They also promote conservation education through their involvement with Ohio Holstein Association, Farm Bureau, Ohio State University Extension and the local SWCD.
Stanley and Rick Moore, and now a third generation — Steven Moore — farm more than 2,900 acres in Harrison County. Alfalfa and hay are the primary crops for their cattle and sheep operation.
Conservation practices include crop rotation, the installation of 100 acres of contour strips and 10 acres of grassed waterways. Fencing has been installed to prevent livestock from entering steams, and they also have a manure nutrient management plan for their farm.
The Moores have been district cooperators for nearly 50 years, and have hosted numerous agricultural and conservation tours for FFA students, Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences/Animal Science and Farm Bureau.
In 2004, the Moores were selected Harrison County Conservation Farm of the Year.
Larry, Richard and Sam Kinney farm 3,600 acres in Logan County, raising corn and soybeans. Conservation techniques being utilized include no-till, grassed waterways and filter strips, and they currently have 2,400 acres enrolled in the Conservation Security Program. Fertilizers are applied using a precise soil zone system so that fertilizer applications are applied only where needed. A 12-acre wetland has also been developed on the farm.
Martha Gerber Rittinger farms more than 2,000 acres in Ross County, producing corn, soybeans and wheat.
Conservation techniques used include no-till, cover crops when needed, crop rotation, grassed waterways and both grass and forested filter strips. District cooperators for 57 years, Maple Monte farms has been host to numerous Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and 4-H clubs for nature study, camping, and merit badge projects. The Rittingers have also hosted several women’s groups from developed and underdeveloped countries to demonstrate the farming and conservation techniques being utilized.
The Ohio Conservation Farm Family Award is sponsored by Ohio Farmer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources, Hancor Inc. and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
Since 1984, the program has recognized 141 Ohio farm families for their exemplary efforts of conserving soil, water, woodland and wildlife and other natural resources on the land they farm.
In addition to receiving $400 each from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the families are featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer and receive plaques from Hancor Inc. Ohio
Nominations are sought annually between January and May.