Top Ohio conservation farms honored


LONDON, Ohio – Five of Ohio’s top conservation farm families were honored for their long-standing dedication to natural resource conservation at a special ceremony at the Farm Science Review.

Since 1984, the awards program has recognized 101 Ohio farm families for conserving soil, water, woodland, wildlife and other natural resources on the land they farm.

Go the extra mile. Conservation farm families also host a variety of educational programs, opening their farms to schools, scout groups, farm organizations and others.

“The Conservation Farm Family awards recognize farm families who have gone the extra mile in protecting the environment while producing the food and fiber crops that are such an important part of Ohio’s economy,” said David Hanselmann, chief of the Ohio Division of Natural Resources division of soil and water conservation.

“The practices these people use to prevent soil erosion and water pollution benefit all Ohioans and serve as an example of what individuals can do to conserve natural resources.”

Honored for years of conservation work on their farms were:

Frankart. Bill Frankart farms 3,100 acres in Seneca County. Corn and soybeans are the principle crops.

Conservation techniques include no-till and the installation of filter strips on all eligible channels and ditches through the CRP and CREP programs. Frankart also engages in precision farming, grid sampling, and yield monitoring to evaluate crop yields and input impacts on the environment.

He has hosted numerous field days on his farm and participated in local conservation tillage clubs with young farmers. He also helps promote the Lake Erie Buffer Program with a testimonial advertisement in a buffer publication.

“My goal as a farmer is to be the best steward to our land and water,” he said. “I want to leave the soil and water in better condition for future generations.”

Farriss. William and Carol Farriss farm 730 acres in Wayne County. Major crops include alfalfa, corn, barley and oats. Cattle are also raised.

Conservation practices include contour strips, grass waterways, crop rotation and no-till planting.

The Farriss farm has been on the cover of the Wayne County Soil Survey Book for many years. They have been a cooperator with their local SWCD for more than 30 years.

Rex. James and Judy Rex operate a diverse 780 acre farm in Morgan County. The principle crop is hay. Cattle are also raised.

Conservation practices include spring development, woodland fencing, livestock exclusion, nutrient management, planned grazing system and pasture and hayland management.

More than 25,000 trees were planted on 37 acres of marginal pastureland. The Rexes have been cooperators with their local SWCD for 27 years.

The farm has been open to other producers to see the managed intensive grazing site and the conservation practices installed.

Phelps. Frank and Gayle Phelps operate a diverse 1,850-acre farm in Logan County. Major crops include corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. Hogs and cattle are also raised.

Conservation techniques include no-till farming, grass waterways, grass filter strips, tree filter strips, wetland development, and woodland fencing.

The Phelps farm has been the site for numerous tours and is a regular stop for school field trips.

Frank Phelps gives beef promotion presentations to all fourth graders at the agriculture festivals held at the local elementary schools. He also serves as chairman of the Ohio Beef Council and the Indian Lake Watershed Project.

Williams. Wayne and June Williams farm 370 acres in Jackson County. Hay and corn are the principle crops. They also raise cattle.

Conservation practices include the installation of grassed waterways to safely remove surface water, prevent erosion and provide subsurface drainage.

A new pond was constructed to supply water for pasture areas and the barn. Geotextile fabric was installed to protect heavily used livestock access lanes.

The Ohio Cattleman’s Association visited the farm as part of the 2000 round-up tour in Jackson County. The family also received the Jackson SWCD Goodyear Farm award.


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