Groundhog Day is chance to break cycle


One of my favorite holidays is Groundhog Day. As this fun-loving holiday approaches on Feb. 2, many speculate on if a groundhog will see his shadow or not. I think one of the reasons I like this holiday so much is it means that we are closer to spring, regardless of what Buckeye Chuck or Punxsutawney Phil might conclude.

Another reason I enjoy this day is it reminds me of the 1993 comedy film with Bill Murray, of course called Groundhog Day.

If you haven’t seen it, the movie is about Bill Murray basically getting stuck in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again (Feb. 2). He eventually re-examines his life and priorities, learns a lot, and once he gets it right, the cycle of repeating is ceased.

I find this message could also be used in the world of conservation. Just because someone may be stuck in a loop of doing things wrong, doesn’t mean they can’t learn, re-examine and make things right.

Ag plastic recycling

The Ohio Recycling Ag Plastic Partnership (RAPP) has been excited about the positive response they have received. Started in Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas Counties, the program spread to farmers in Wayne, Holmes, Ashland, Stark and surrounding counties.

Now they have the option to recycle their agricultural plastic film. From silage bags, bunker covers, bale wrap, high tunnels and row mulch film to poly twine and poly feed sacks — these types of plastics can now be recycled.

For years these types of products were discarded, illegally burned or sent to landfills and could not be recycled due to the dirt and organic matter attached to much of the film.

Now, there is an environmentally friendly option for producers and small farmers. If you’ve been stuck in a loop of burning or land filling your plastic film, maybe now is your time to make things right and start recycling that plastic.

Anyone can pick up a free “super sack” or large tote, and begin recycling on their farm. The super sacks should be available at various locations in these nine counties. Many of these locations are also where farmers can drop off their full super sacks.

The goal is to get the super sacks as full and heavy as possible (for shipping reasons) and then tie the tops together and drop the sack(s) off. From there, once a full load is ready for pick-up, the plastics are taken to either a local Holmes County or Stark County recycling facility. The ag film is not being land filled or illegally disposed of.

Learn more

For more information about the program, contact your local Soil & Water Conservation District or Farm Bureau Office.More info. is available at

Cover crops

Want another simple and inexpensive conservation idea? Try covering up. I mean — protect your land — that valuable soil. The easiest way to prevent erosion, keep streams clean and lessen pollutants is to keep soil covered.

Anything with roots helps hold soil in place, reduces runoff, and wind erosion. So consider cover crops, no-till planting methods, planting trees, leaving a buffer or riparian zone near the water, or even installing a grassed waterway.

Even if you don’t crop farm and only have animals, you can still learn about rotational grazing, and keeping grasses on your pasture so they aren’t mud lots. If you are in need of some ideas or suggestions to get out of the wrong loop, think about roots.

Get it right

So as the Super Bowl Groundhog Day approaches … think about the Bill Murray movie. … Are you stuck in a negative loop? Could you improve and make things right?

Odds are we all can. The options to save and protect our natural resources vary from something simple to large-scale planning.

Whatever practice you decide to take on, assistance and advice is available at numerous offices.

Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), or Extension office to get you started in the right direction.

Also, I’m hoping my Buckeye Chuck doesn’t see his shadow! I’d like to think we will have an early spring.


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Kelly Riley has been the Education Specialist for the Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District since 2003. She earned her B.A. Degree in Education from the University of Akron and was previously a teacher with the Tri-County ESC. Kelly can be reached at (330)-262-2836 or by e-mail at



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