Conservationists, volunteers recognized at Tuscarawas County banquet

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NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio – Ridenour Farms of Angel Valley Road, Stone Creek, was recognized as the 2005 Conservation Farm of the Year at the Tuscarawas Soil and Water Conservation District and Norma Johnson Center banquet Feb. 23 at the R & S Party Center in New Philadelphia.
Ridenour Farms has been a family operation for five generations, starting in 1878 with Samuel Ridenour and currently being operated by John and Benjamin Ridenour, his great grandsons.
John and his wife, Vicki, and their children, Tyler, 7, and Alexis, 3, along with Ben and his wife, Regina, and their children, Derek, 9, twins Clarissa and Cassidy, 5, and Dominic, 3, assure the continuation of the five-generation enterprise.
Family tradition. In 1963, John and Ben’s grandfather, John S. Ridenour, received the same award for his conservation practices, which are still being used today.
John and Ben’s father, Kenneth Ridenour, has retired, leaving the operation of the 500-acre farm to his sons. Ridenour Farms has been a cooperator of the Tuscarawas Soil and Water Conservation District since December 1957.
Over the years, they have practiced contour farming, rotation cropping and conservation tillage. Their main crops are Roundup Ready soybeans, corn, and alfalfa, along with a little wheat, planted mainly for rotation and straw.
This past year, Tuscarawas Soil and Water Conservation District technicians assisted the Ridenours with the installation of a 180-day earthen storage animal waste holding facility. The facility will hold waste generated from 100 dairy cows.
The structure, which has earthen sides and a concrete floor, holds approximately 650,000 gallons of waste. It took about six weeks to complete the project. The animal waste storage facility will aid Ridenour Farms with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, such as spreading on frozen ground.
In addition, the technicians were able to assist the farm with a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, which would qualify them for cost-share dollars from the Natural Resources Conservation Services.
Conservationist. Dundee Elementary School was recognized as the district’s 2005 Conservationist of the Year.
The conservation district participated with the school in an after-school function called Science Night.
“It goes to show that education on conservation and natural resources does not stop at the classroom and we thank Dundee Elementary teachers for all their efforts in supporting our mission, ” said Bob Demuth, conservation district supervisor.
Golden Oak. Receiving this year’s Norman Johnson Center Golden Oak Award was Lynn Foust and her work study class from Dover High School, who have been making improvements to the center over the past seven years.
Some of Foust’s class projects include making, mulching, measuring and trimming trails; making and placing trail signs; keeping the boardwalk and the red water bridge stained; painting the rest room by the land labs; offering and planting flower bulbs for flower beds; sweeping out the picnic shelter; weeding flower gardens; staining shingles for the duck blind; and folding newsletters.
Students Travis Glasgow, Lucy Cook, Ian and Josh Freed, Michelle Elfritz, Nathaniel Morris and Zack Jackson received special recognition.
“Due to their desire and willingness to volunteer, the Norma Johnson Center will become a better place. I thank you for your time and hard work,” said Marsha Zoller, center director.
Tracey Haney, conservation district program administrator, presented service awards to longtime district employees Shirley Everhart and Jay Horn, who recently retired.
This was the third annual meeting of the Norma Johnson Center, but the first time the Tuscarawas Soil and Water Conservation District joined them for the event.

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