Leaders in change: Ohio farm families recognized for their conservation efforts

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LONDON, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recognized five families as winners of the 2015 Conservation Farm Family Awards Sept. 24 at the Farm Science Review in London.

 

The families honored were: Ron and Barb Snyder of Wood County; Richard Thompson of Trumbull County; John and Cindi Quinn of Muskingum County; Dan and Tawni Batdorf of Miami County; and Dr. Patricia Speck of Vinton County.

 

Dealing with change

 

Presenting the awards, Michael Bailey, chief of the ODNR Division of Soil and Water, said the farmers of today face a multitude of challenges, from weather challenges, to changes in technology and the most recent issues dealing with water quality.

 

While each of the five families come from different parts of Ohio, represent different operations and have different agricultural practices, Bailey said, “they all have one thing in common. None of them have accomplished what they have done by accident. They are leaders in change.”

 

Snyder family

 

Ron and Barb Snyder, of Wood County, farm more than 200 acres. They raise crops of corn, soybeans and rye, and also raise broiler chickens. Their conservation practices include no-till, cover crops and crop rotation.

 

The Snyders have been working to promote the Farm 4 Clean Water social media initiative, leading efforts to promote soil health field testing equipment for education and data collection, as well as developing an educational cover crop and soil health plot in their home county.

 

“We need to understand, there are going to be 9.3 billion people in this world in 2050, we can no longer just apply and forget,” Ron said upon accepting his award, addressing water quality issues in Western Ohio. “We have to come up with a different way to do things.

 

Richard Thompson

 

Richard Thompson of Trumbull County farms more than 5,000 acres at Heritage Hill Farm. Major crops on his farm include soybeans, wheat and hay and his conservation practices include conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, grassed waterways and grass filter strips.

 

Thompson has protected 3,679 acres with conservation easements and the Thompson family holds farm tours for inner-city children.

 

Quinn family

John and Cindi Quinn farm more than 430 acres in Muskingum County. They grow corn, soybeans and hay, and they also raise beef cattle. Conservation practices utilized include no-till, cover crops and crop rotation.

 

They have recently started to bring strip-mined ground back into agricultural production by using soybeans to break up severe compaction. Some of the old pasture land was converted to a swamp, which helps filter runoff.

 

John Quinn said farmers “still need help in agriculture research,” specifically to nitrogen and phosphorus runoff. “We need to understand why this is happening and how we can prevent it.”

 

Batdorf family

 

Dan and Tawni Batdorf, of Miami County, farm more than 520 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat as well as raising Holstein steers. Their conservation practices include cover crops, no-till, conservation tillage, crop rotation and grassed waterways.

 

The Batdorfs have hosted many cover crop field events, including the 2015 Ohio No-Till Council Cover Crop Field Day. Additionally, Dan Batdorf was named the 2014 Outstanding No-Till Farmer by the Ohio No-Till Council.

 

Patricia Speck

 

Dr. Patricia Speck of Vinton County farms 65 acres and raises dairy cows, sheep, goats, chickens and more. She has written newsletter articles, worked with 4-H groups and also helped to develop an educational program for students to show how organic matter improves soil.

 

To address many of the resource management problems found on her farm, she started soil testing and applying lime and fertilizer at suggested rates.

 

About the award. Since 1984, the Conservation Farm Family Awards program has recognized 166 Ohio farm families for their efforts conserving soil, water, woodland, wildlife and other natural resources on the land they farm. Conservation farm families also host a variety of educational programs, opening their farms to schools, scout groups, farm organizations and others.

 

(Reporter Catie Noyes contributed to this release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.)

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