Nothing ever stays the same

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A few years back, Patty Loveless had a popular country song that told of three sad events in a woman’s life, and each time, her Mama comforted her and said “life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same.

I have probably repeated that line a hundred times, because it just fits so many situations.

Bittersweet goodbye

Saying goodbye to a retiring co-worker is a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, you’re very happy that they finally have reached their goal and are about to start a new lifestyle. There’s also the sad side of not seeing them every day, after you’ve spent years together.

Laura Schafer retired from the Noble SWCD office at the end of July, and the board and I wish her and her family nothing but the best as they all start a new chapter. We will all miss her compassion for conservation and her sense of fun, and, after 26 years here, I can honestly say that things will never be the same.

And a hello

But life is about changes, and the big change here is that we have hired a name that many in southeastern Ohio recognize to take Laura’s place.

Dave Schott has worked for over 16 years in Belmont, Guernsey, and Monroe counties providing advice and assistance to landowners concerning forestry and wildlife issues. He was one of the original ‘class’ of wildlife specialists, working for soil and water districts to provide service in conjunction with the Division of Wildlife, only on a more personal level.

Before you start thinking that Dave can’t keep a job in one place, you need to know that he is now back home, working in the county where he grew up and still lives today.

On the farm

Now, I could use that same quote to apply to a lot of things concerning life on a farm. It applies to the weather, the seasons, the crops, the livestock or, most importantly, your family.

None of us like change, and the older I get, the less I like it, but it’s still a part of life.

And If I could pick one change that we are all going to face, it would probably be Senate Bill 150. If you don’t recognize it, you probably need to do a little homework. Senate Bill 150 is the legislation that passed earlier this year that, for the first time, will regulate the way that you apply fertilizer to your fields and pastures.

Born from the blue-green algae problems in western and northwestern Ohio, the legislation is an attempt to ensure that folks who use commercial fertilizer, do so in a responsible way.

Smaller acreages will be exempt, but if you apply N, P, or K to 50 acres or more each year, you will be required to attend some training on nutrient application, and pass a test to be certified.

The training will be similar to the current pesticide certification that many have already been through.

Good step

I’m sure by now you’re wondering ‘what can I change to help solve the problem?’, and I’m glad you are. If you raise crops, the best tool out there to keep your nutrients on your farm is the use of cover crops.

Right now, with harvest about to get into full swing, give some thought, while you’re in the tractor seat, to coming right back in and plant some kind of cover on those fields.

While the original idea of cover crops was to slow sown soil erosion over the winter, research is now proving how well these short term crops not only hold soil, but tie up your nutrients, help suppress weeds and add important organic matter that will be available to next year’s crop.

If you’ve picked up a farm magazine in the last couple of years, you’ve probably already read loads of articles about nutrient management, algae, and cover crops. I don’t want to lull you into thinking that there’s nothing else to write about. I just want you to think about change, because, like it or not, it’s coming.

Grandpa probably didn’t use cover crops, and maybe Dad doesn’t either. Don’t let that be your excuse, ‘cause nothing ever stays the same….

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Jim Mizik has been the district technician for the Noble Soil and Water Conservation District since 1999. He also raises beef cattle with his son, Jeremy, on his family farm.

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