Tree farm recognized for conservation

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WALNUT CREEK, Ohio – Potts Tree Farm was presented the Holmes County conservation award Nov. 6 at the 56th annual meeting of the Holmes Soil and Water Conservation District.

Potts Tree Farm in Millersburg, Ohio, was the recipient of several previous awards, including the 1989 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year, the 1990 North Central Regional Tree Farm of the Year and 2002 Woodland Stewardship county award winner.

Dave Woodring, board treasurer, noted that the Potts Tree Farm had to meet the American Tree Farm System standards and guidelines.

“To certify their land, the Potts family had to develop a written management plan based on strict environmental standards and guidelines and pass an inspection by a volunteer forester,” he said.

“Their tree farm must be reinspected every five years to verify adherence to sustainable forest management standards and guidelines.”

Farm’s beginnings. The Potts Tree Farm had its origin in the 1930s when Henry Potts planted his first tree. He then began to search for property to call his own.

In 1957, the first piece of property was purchased in Holmes County – a total of 55 acres. In the following years, seven additional properties were purchased and expanded.

The Potts Tree Farm, which now involves many family members, is 206 acres and became a registered tree farm in 1968.

Other farm details. Woodring noted that more than 250,000 board feet of timber has been harvested since 1957 and about 210,000 board feet were harvested from 1989 to 1996.

A forest inventory has been conducted on each management section.

In addition, more than eight miles of access roads are maintained, and more than 50,000 tree seedlings have been planted.

Major tree species include yellow poplar, red, black and white oak, white ash, hickory, American beech, black walnut, aspen, sycamore, basswood and sassafras, hardwoods; and spruce and white, red and scotch pine, softwoods.

“In addition to managing their tree farm with best management practices, the Potts family is very active in education and outreach,” Woodring said.

Young winners. Three fifth graders received trophies for the conservation tour essay contest named after Tom Graham, a soil scientist.

Katelyn Hershberger of Walnut Creek Elementary, Emily Miller of Mount Hope Elementary, and Quin Miller of Walnut Creek Elementary received awards.

Kurt and Pam Schelgel received a plaque for opening their dairy farm for the fifth grade tour in September.

Retiring county officers Roger Clark, commissioner, and Bob Kasner, engineer, were recognized for their conservation efforts.

Eli Allen Miller and Mike Fair were re-elected to three year terms on board of supervisors.

Conservation news. In other conservation news, more than 20,000 seedlings were sold in the tree sale and more than 100 producer education programs were presented.

Educational programs continued and the no-till farming project continued to provide equipment to farmers.

Among the highlighted conservation practices were animal waste structures, roof water management, heavy-use pads for cattle, and dry hydrants for the fire department at Killbuck.

“The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) has gone well in our county with a total of 30 contracts and an expenditure of more than $300,000,” according to Chuck Reynolds, district conservationist.

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