Ohio environmental stewardship awards

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COLUMBUS – Five family livestock farmers were presented with this year’s environmental stewardship awards for their exemplary conservation and resource stewardship management practices.

Award recipients included Patrick Hord, Hord Livestock Co., Bucyrus, Ohio; Carl Link, Cooper Farms, Fort Recovery, Ohio; Terry Wehrkamp, Cooper Farms, Oakwood, Ohio; Chuck and Lisa Rodenfels, Somerhill Farm, Caldwell, Ohio, and Wayne and June Williams, Oak Hill, Ohio.

Factors considered in determining award recipients include the general nature and history of the farming operation, manure management system and how the manure management program contributes to the respective operation’s profitability.

Other factors include stewardship goals and accomplishments; innovative management practices developed and implemented; involvement in programs that promote environmental stewardship; steps taken to develop and present a positive image for the individual operation; and steps taken to improve communications and relations with the farm’s neighbors and community.

Patrick Hord. Hord Livestock consists of a network of family pork producers. It follows a manure nutrient plan developed in accordance with the Soil and Water Conservation District.

To protect water quality, the Hords have more than 30 acres of grass filter strips along the farm’s open ditches. The family also has more than one mile of vegetative windbreaks to reduce swine odors.

All manure is applied using an injection system that reduces odors and run-off. A feed additive also controls odors.

The farm also has an emergency response plan to prevent potential pollution.

Another winner. Carl Link and Terry Wehrkamp, of Cooper Farms, constructed ponds to prevent overflow and allow the ground to absorb excess water.

Twenty-five acres are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, and an intermittent sprinkler system eliminates run-off.

They use manure from turkey, layers and swine to meet the nutrient needs of corn and soybean crops. Animal mortalities are composted using an approved facility that turns dead animals into fertilizer.

Williams. Wayne and June Williams have more than 4,200 feet of grass waterways. Several acres of highly eroded soil has been cleared of brush, seeded, mulched and converted to permanent pasture for cattle.

To improve the grazing system, they have fenced their livestock away from stream banks and developed two springs to provide water to the grazing cattle.

They have installed heavy-use pads constructed from flue gas de-sulfurization byproducts and use geotextile fabrics to stabilize lanes connecting the barn and pastures in the areas surrounding the water tanks.

Rodenfels. Chuck and Lisa Rodenfels lamb outside to reduce labor requirements. They have helped nine others get started in the sheep business and helped start Ohio Cheviot Jim Cluff Memorial Starter Flock Program.

Rodenfels use rotational grazing and have spring developments to provide clean drinking water. This also helps to scatter distribution of manure.

The Rodenfels provide riparian protection by controlling grazing activity along the stream that flows through their farm. They also practice woodland management by installing fences to prevent livestock from gaining access to the area.

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