Kiko Farms earns conservation award

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HANOVERTON, Ohio – A look at the Columbiana Soil and Water Conservation District’s activities illustrates the breadth of natural resources conservation practices under way in the county.

The district reviewed highlights from last past year during its annual meeting Nov. 1 at United Local High School. Work ranged from traditional grassed waterways installation to coordinating educational “canoe floats” down the Little Beaver Creek.

Cooperator award. Kiko Farms, owned by Rusty and Pam Kiko and their family, received the district’s Cooperator of the Year award. The Kikos and their eight children – Russell, Randall, Stephanie, Natalie, Rudy, Emilie, Melanie and Ryan – operate several farms in Butler Township south of Salem.

The family currently milks 75 cows and uses no-till practices to raise approximately 150 acres of corn, 285 acres of soybeans, 70 acres of wheat, 60 acres of spelt, 20 acres of oats and 140 acres of hay. Another 29 acres are managed pastures in a rotational grazing system. The alfalfa stands are also planted no-till.

The Kikos began working with the district shortly after purchasing their home farm on McCann Road in 1976. Since purchasing three nearby farms in the last five years, the family implemented additional conservation measures, including grassed waterways and contour strips. They added a settling basin and filter strips to help treat wastewater from the dairy barn.

The Kikos also work with agronomic consultant Woody Johnson to manage fertility needs. In addition to managing the farm’s dairy manure, the family also applies chicken litter to crop ground.

Watershed education. Deb Frawley, district watershed coordinator, described her water and soil conservation activities, which focus on the Little Beaver Creek watershed and emphasize conservation and preservation.

The Little Beaver Creek was the first site in Ohio to be designated a wild river by the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 1974. Little Beaver Creek is one of only three rivers in Ohio that has also been included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program.

Frawley has been working to education landowners within the watershed about options, such as conservation easements, that can further protect the properties.

Frawley’s educational efforts included coordinating canoe floats that spotlighted the waterway’s beauty and need for preservation, and organizing a river clean-up that found, for example, at least four dozen tires in only a few miles of the river. In working with youth education, Frawley has made presentations to approximately 300 students in eight schools and recently helped lead a watershed education workshop for 150 teachers.

Busy year. Partnering with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, the district has worked with traditional agricultural cooperators, as well as woodland owners, homeowners, villages and other municipal or government entities.

One of the district’s increasing efforts has been in the field of septic system and sewer management, working with the department of health, individual landowners and contractors.

Election. Glenn Whiteleather of West Township was reelected to serve as district supervisor and Joe Stryffeler of Butler Township was elected to his first term as supervisor.

Current supervisors include Ron Berger, Scott Sanor and Richard Zehentbauer.

Entertainment was a multi-media presentation by George Houk, featuring Houk’s photography.

(Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 1-800-837-3419 or at editorial@farmanddairy.com.)

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