Ohio farm wins national award

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CLIVE, Iowa – An Ohio farm is one of four pork operations named 2004 Environmental Stewards by the National Pork Checkoff Board.
Heimerl Farms, Johnstown, Ohio, received one of the national awards, along with Old Prairie Pork, Roanoke, Ill.; Three Generation Pork, New Richland, Minn.; and Luthi Family Farm, Gage, Okla.
“This year’s winners represent some of the finest individuals and operations in our industry,” said Dave Culbertson, a producer from Geneseo, Ill., and president of the National Pork Board.
Heimerl Farms. With swine operations located across much of Ohio, Jim and Kathy Heimerl have 7,500 sows that serve as multipliers for the swine genetics company PIC.
The family uses a variety of conservation measures at their farms. At their Eagle Creek sow farm in Brown County, grass buffer strips surround the buildings and lagoon. All rainwater from the site is collected and held in a freshwater pond, which has become a popular spot for wildlife.
The Heimerls spread a three- to six-inch layer of chopped straw on the surface of their lagoons to form an odor barrier. Effluent from the lagoons is injected into the region’s clay soils.
Family members use GPS-based grid sampling to monitor soil fertility, and they test manure samples before applying in the spring and fall. They also use phytase to reduce phosphorus levels in the manure.
Criteria. A national selection committee evaluated each operation on its manure management, conservation practices, odor-control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor relations, wildlife habitat and innovative ideas.
Each finalist also provided general production information and wrote an essay on the meaning of environmental stewardship.
National Hog Farmer magazine will feature the winners in its September issue.
The 2004 Environmental Stewards also will be recognized by their peers at the 2005 National Pork Industry Forum in Orlando, Fla.

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