Ohio farms saluted as neighbors, stewards


COLUMBUS – The Ohio Livestock Coalition presented its major awards April 3, honoring six farms for their conservation efforts and two operations for building bridges to their nonfarm neighbors.
This year’s Environmental Stewardship Award winners include: Stoll Select Farms, Logan County; Rob and Ellen Joslin, Shelby county; Bridgewater Dairy, Williams County; Bell Farms Ag, Muskingum County; Bowman and Landes Turkey Farm, Miami county; and Cline Farms, Athens County.
The 2007 Neighbor of the Year award winners are Grammer Jersey Farm, Mahoning County, and Crooked Creek Golf Course, Belmont County.
Stewardship awards. For this year’s winners, protecting the environment on their farms is important, according to Sandy Kuhn, executive director of the Ohio Livestock Coalition.
The Environmental Stewardship Award program annually honors accomplishments made by farmers who develop and implement management practices that protect the environment and conserve natural resources.
This year’s award winners were recognized during the coalition’s annual meeting April 3.
“Each of these farms has a strong history,” Kuhn said. “These are family operations; regardless of the size, they support the families that own and operate them. The only way they’ll continue to do that into the future is to act responsibly by taking care of the land, air and water around them.”
Responsibility. On each application, farmers were asked, “What does environmental stewardship mean to me?” For the Stolls of Logan County, that means staying in sync with the land around them.
“We are fortunate to live in a county of rich farmland, but with that joy comes responsibility,” wrote Bob Stoll. “I consider it my responsibility to be accountable for the land entrusted to me care, not only for my livelihood, but for the sake of future generations.”
The Bells, who operate a six-generation farm, in Muskingum County realize their actions today impact how the farm is operated in the future. “… if there is to be another generation to operate the farm, we want to leave it to that generation in a condition at least as good as when we received it a generation earlier.”
Good neighbors. The Ohio Livestock Coalition and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation created the Neighbor of the Year program a few years ago to recognize livestock producers and rural residents who work hard to build bridges between neighbors in Ohio’s countryside.
The livestock farmer winner, Grammer Jersey Farm of Sebring in Mahoning County, is known for its openness to visitors and the willingness to step in when needed to help others in the area.
The rural resident winner, Crooked Creek Golf Course of Belmont in Belmont County, is recognized for its community pride and for lending a helping hand.
Grammer dairy. Grammer Jersey Farm, owned by Bill and Debbie Grammer, was nominated for the award by the Mahoning County Farm Bureau.
The dairy consists of more than 500 acres of owned and rented farmland and about 1,000 cows.
“Nonfarm neighbors are always ‘curious’ to know the agricultural practices, but often don’t know what questions to ask,” according to the nomination form. “This is the reason the applicant and employees take the time to chat with their neighbors, answering questions they have and offering any help to the neighbor they may need in the future and extending to them an invitation to visit the dairy facility.”
Belmont Co. winner. As nonfarm neighbors, Brian and Gordon Loase, owners of Crooked Creek Golf Course, have proven themselves invaluable, according to Ed Stenger of Belmont, who nominated the Loases.
Stenger described how Brian Loase worked through the night with golf course equipment to remove hay from a burning barn.
“Because of him, we were able to save our milk parlor and part of our free stall barn that was underneath the hay mow,” Stenger wrote.
Each winner received a plaque and $250 was donated on their behalf to their favorite charities.

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