HANOVERTON, Ohio – Pete Conkle likes working with farm owner Peter Mowad.
As program coordinator for the Columbiana Soil and Water Conservation District, Conkle spends a lot of time on farms suggesting conservation upgrades or ways to improve existing practices.
When he visits Mowad’s Foggy Hollow Farm north of Wellsville, Conkle gets to see the fruits of those conversations.
“It’s never a matter of if we’re going to do a conservation practice,” Conkle said of his work with Mowad, “but how soon.”
At the local SWCD’s annual meeting Nov. 1, Mowad received the Cooperator of the Year award for that conservation ethic.
About the farm. Foggy Hollow Farm is a 160-acre registered Shorthorn cattle operation Mowad started in the late 1990s. Along with partner Bobbi LeMasters and farm manager Jake Whitehead, Mowad developed a rotational grazing system for the beef herd that now numbers more than 250 head.
Mowad has worked with the district to secure EQIP funding through the USDA to fence cattle out of some of the stream channels and also used EQIP funding to install a heavy use pad.
The farm has also installed spring developments to provide water in the various pasture paddocks, built access roads, and worked to protect stream corridors and drainage patterns.
“They’ve gone above and beyond,” Conkle said of the farm’s efforts.
Around the county. The district also worked with other farms and landowners across the county, and Conkle highlighted some of the accomplishments from the past year during the annual meeting.
Overseeing the design and installation of grassed waterways is one of the district’s strengths, and in fiscal year 2007, the district helped with nearly 10,000 feet, or 7 acres, of waterways.
The district also worked closely landowners to develop and approve 12 EQIP applications that received $118,600 in cost-share funds, and five forestry EQIP applications, which were approved for $22,200 in cost-share funds.
Conkle said the county is also starting a stream pollution mitigation program in tandem with the Jefferson SWCD and the Crossroads Resource Conservation and Development program in the Yellow Creek and Little Beaver Creek watersheds.
Cost-share funds are available for producers to create setbacks from waterways, install fencing to keep animals out of streams, or to provide alternate water sources.
Wildlife programs. Matt Brown joined the district staff in March as its wildlife/forestry specialist and has been working on nuisance calls and animal damage investigations.
Brown’s position, which is partially funded by the Division of Wildlife, is also responsible for forestry inspections under Current Agricultural Use Valuation, and works to develop forestry management plans.
Brown has developed educational programs, as has Conkle, and conducted a coyote seminar that drew approximately 50 attendees and hosted a pond clinic for 80 participants.
That’s a big tree. The local SWCD also sponsored a Big Tree contest in the county, focusing on white oaks this year.
Of the eight trees nominated, the winner is located in the Lisbon cemetery. It stands approximately 96 feet tall, measures an average crown spread of 115 feet, and has a circumference of just under 17 feet.
Lowell Kee of Minerva, who nominated the tree, will receive a plaque with the tree’s statistics and a $50 gift certificate.
Election. In the supervisor election, Glenn Whiteleather was re-elected and Bryan Hays was newly elected to the board, succeeding Joe Stryffeler. Other board members include: Tom Butch, chairman; Rhonda Simmons; and Jeremy Kohler.
(Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 800-837-3419 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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