WOOSTER, Ohio — Parry and Susie Cochran were recognized as the recipients of the 2009 Conservation Farm Award during the Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual meeting Nov. 17.
The Cochrans operate a heifer and grain farm in Plain Township. Parry, Susie and their children, Aaron, Andrew and Audrey, reside on the farm they purchased 11 years ago. They raise 300 dairy replacement heifers on the 100-acre farm and rent an additional 635 acres of cropland.
Cochran uses no-till cropping methods to raise corn, soybeans, wheat and mixed alfalfa and grass hay. Cochrans have worked with the Wayne SWCD to establish conservation practices on the farm including a conservation plan and comprehensive nutrient management plan for both the owned and rented land.
Other conservation practices in place include constructing an agrichemical storage facility, a no-till slug scouting program, developing a forestry stewardship plan for grapevine control, crop tree release and timber stand improvement.
He is also using an NRCS-approved earthen manure storage facility and has installed other conservation practices on his own including roof runoff structures and heavy use areas.
Educator of the Year
Tony Stoller was named the 2009 Educator of the Year. Stoller has been the agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Smithville High School since 2003.
For the past three years, students in the Smithville Agri-science Program have been involved in the OARDC-Ohio State and National Science Foundation K-12 Sugarcreek Watershed Education Grant program. They have also hosted three graduate fellows, who have brought their research expertise to the classroom.
Stoller and the Smithville FFA assisted the Wayne SWCD by hosting the Wayne County Land Judging Contest twice. Stoller resides in Wayne County with his wife, Mary Beth and their children, Lauren, Kaitlyn and Caleb.
Elected to serve on the board of supervisors for the Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District were John Redick and Matt Peart.
Peart resides in Congress Township and farms 400 acres in Wayne and Summit counties. He raises corn, soybeans, spelt and hay organically. He also has 30 Angus cows.
Conservation practices include filter strips, conservation tillage, contour strips and grass waterways. He is a master tree farmer and logger.
Redick resides in Chester Township and, along with his family, farms 1,700 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. They also finish out 100 head of beef cattle annually.
Conservation practices include grass waterways, strip tillage, vertical and no-till and minimum tillage with contour strips.
Before the meeting, Redick urged the audience to contact their state legislature and urge them to restore funding to Soil and Water Conservation Districts to 100 percent.
He said that while funding from the Wayne commissioners dropped slightly as all departments across the county were asked to decrease their budgets by 13 percent, support from the state was cut to 70 percent in 2009 and will be cut to 50 percent in 2010.
Redick noted that this would hurt the district’s ability to assist residents with their conservation needs.
Loss of old barns
Rudy Christian, president of Christian and Son, a business specializing in timber frame buildings, spoke about the loss of old barns across the country, including many in Wayne County.
“Ohio is the crossroad of America,” he said. “People came to Ohio from all over the world and they brought their customs and traditions, including how they built their barns.”
Christian said that as farming practices changed, so did the barns and how they were constructed. Today, many of those barns are no longer in use, in disrepair or have been torn down.
But these barns can be made useful again, either in the farming operation or removed and reconstructed somewhere else and used as a residence or business.
“We can find different uses for these barns if we are creative,” he said. “They are part of our heritage. We would not be the country we are without these barns.”