Nathan Brown took home top honors at this years’ 77th Annual Meeting by being named the 2019 Cooperator of the year by the Highland SWCD supervisors and staff. Brown was selected due to his devotion to agricultural and the determination to improve soil health and water quality throughout his farming operation. He has worked diligently with local landowners to install much needed conservation practices on their farms. Brown is a well-respected leader in the agricultural industry and serves as an example of how to incorporate best management practices that will protect our natural resources.
KEEP UPDATED ON THE LATEST NEWS!
With the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting everyone, we want you to be aware that the Highland SWCD office is open, with limited access to the public. We are operating under normal business hours via phone and email to help serve you during this difficult time. We have essential employees in our office daily with remaining staff working remotely for precautionary measures. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.
Carroll Hired as The District Resource Specialist
Josh Carroll was hired this spring as the District Resource Specialist for the Highland SWCD. He graduated from Morehead State University in the winter of 2018. Josh spent most of his summers and weekends working for a local lawncare business and helping area farmers in the fields. He grew up in Rainsboro and is passionate about helping his community. Josh’s love for the great outdoors and the time he spent working with farmers lead him to the SWCD so he could not only help himself, but others learn and practice conservation techniques that will enhance our natural resources.
The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District will hold their regular monthly Board Meetings on the second Wednesday of each month. Due to COVID-19 and House Bill 197 these Board Meetings will be held via conference call until further notice. If you would like information on how to connect to a conference call, please contact the office at 937-393-1922 ext. 3 for more information
The Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Brown, Clermont, Clinton and Highland counties rolled out the new Southwest Ohio Agricultural Conservation Menu (SOACM) website recently. The SOACM website was created to be a one-stop clearinghouse for all agriculture resource programs and will provide information needed to choose the right Best Management Practices (BMP’s) that will enhance your farming operation. Visit www.soacm.com for more details.
KARNES FAMILY HONORED AT ANNUAL MTG
Charles and Kay Karnes and Family were presented with a Bicentennial Farm award at the Highland Soil and Water Conservation District’s 77th Annual Meeting. It was a privilege to have the Ohio Department of Agriculture Assistant Director, Tim Derickson in attendance to present this award to the Karnes Family as part of the Ohio Historic Farms program.
ADDITIONAL PROJECT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CLEAR CREEK WATERSHED AREA
The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District recently applied for a Clear Creek Water Quality & Wildlife Habitat Special Initiative in coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver assistance for conservation and wildlife management practices in the Clear Creek Watershed. This Initiative will continue the conservation efforts of The Clear Creek Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to work with various partners including, Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Wildlife, City of Hillsboro, US Fish and Wildlife, and Pheasants Forever, Inc. to maintain water quality, reduce soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat.
The Clear Creek Watershed is located in South West Ohio, Highland County and drains approximately 29,400 acres of land. There is nearly 16,400 acres of agricultural cropland within the watershed. The entire Clear Creek watershed is in the project area, which is unique in that it serves as the source water for the City of Hillsboro, and is the main drinking water source for 6,500 residents and businesses. The Clear Creek Watershed also encompasses Ohio’s first Bobwhite quail focus area. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and listed partners have made sustaining the declining Northern Bobwhite quail population a priority. Within the Clear Creek watershed 9,900 acres have been designated as a focus area for quail habitat management.
This special initiative project will implement a series of agricultural best management practices to protect water quality, improve soil health and provide habitat for at risk species in the Clear Creek Watershed. It will also help protect the City of Hillsboro’s drinking water supply and provide prescribed habitat for Ohio’s diminished Bobwhite Quail population and native pollinators. Project goals for conservation practices include the installation of cover crops, nutrient management, grassed waterways, and certain prescribed wildlife management practices that improve habitat for targeted species. The project will utilize the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to meet the project goals. Implementation of BMPs will be prioritized upstream of the City of Hillsboro’s drinking water intake and within the wildlife focus area for Bobwhite Quail. If you live or farm in the Clear Creek Watershed and would like more information on the program stop in the NRCS/SWCD office or call 937-393-1922 ext. 3.
Pictured are members of the Lynchburg-Clay Eagles team (l-r): Bridget Wilkin, Sydney Hamilton, Tiah McLean, Matthew Gossett and Sam Hamilton. The team placed second in the Ohio Envirothon competition.
Lynchburg-Clay Competes in Virtual Envirothon
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all levels of the high school Envirothon competition were canceled this year. However, the Ohio Envirothon Committee graciously hosted a virtual state competition for schools wanting to compete.
The competition consisted of teams of five students, who completed online tests of aquatics, forestry, soil, wildlife and the environmental topic of “Water Resource Management: Local Control and Location Solutions.” Once the test scores were tabulated, the top six scoring teams were invited to create a five-minute presentation addressing a scenario that was created for this year’s environmental topic.
Lynchburg-Clay High School had two teams which competed. Both teams placed in the top six and created the oral presentation competition, which was held online.
The Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs team, which consists of Leah Bauer, Kurt Hamilton, Allison Kohus, Austin Leininger and Kara Williams, finished in fourth place.
2020 Highland County Farm Tour
The Highland SWCD and the Highland County Farm Bureau are excited to announce that plans for the 7th Annual Highland County Farm Tour are underway! Please mark your calendars for the tentative date of September 19, 2020 for this years Tour! This event will showcase farms in the community and allow people the opportunity to learn first hand by visiting their facilities. Once the event is finalized, we will post information on the farm stops on the SWCD and Farm Bureau websites. Visit www.highlandswcd.com or www.ofbf.org/counties/highland periodically for more details.
County Soils Contest Winners
Every year the Highland SWCD holds a soil judging competition for the county school FFA Chapters. The competition allows the students to evaluate soil pits to determine soil properties, limitations, recommended conservation practices, and appropriate land uses for either an urban or rural ag setting. Students also had to complete two written tests. One consisted of questions on the county soil survey and the other tests general knowledge of soils. In the rural ag soil judging contest, students evaluate the soil based on its suitability for agriculture, forestry, pasture and wildlife uses. In the urban soil judging contest, students determine the soil’s ability to be used for roads, lawns, gardens and landscaping, home building sites and septic systems. In 2019 Caleb Cook (Middle R) was the County Urban Winner from McClain FFA and Richie Lester (Alex Snyder- Middle L accepting award for Lester) was the Rural Ag Winner also from McClain FFA. Dan Chambers, Highland SWCD Board member (R) presented the awards of behalf of sponsor Farm Credit Mid-America and District Technician Chuck Williams (L) are shown with the contest winners.
6th Annual Highland County Farm Tour a Great Success
The 6th Annual Highland County Farm Tour took place on Sept. 14, 2019. The farm tour was a result of a collaborative effort between Highland County Farm Bureau and Highland Soil and Water Conservation District. Over 100 people attended the event in the Fairview area.
The tour featured beautiful, diverse farms and provided beneficial information on local sustainable agriculture. The tour consisted of stops at the following locations: Bonnie Burchwell Farm; featuring a presentation on pond management by Aquatic Biologist Anthony Bruno from Jones Fish, Stroud’s Apiary; where participants learned how to become a beekeeper, Higgins Steel Roofing; which offered a unique look behind the scenes of their performance panel operation, see first-hand how honey is processed and tour the extensive beekeeping products sold at Higgins. In addition to learning about these unique farms, participants also enjoyed a pollinator habitat presentation from Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist Barb Bauer after lunch on the importance of maintaining habitat to protect our pollinators.
The Highland County Farm Bureau and Highland Soil and Water Conservation District would like to thank The Nationwide, Newman-Barton Group of Hillsboro for donating bottled water, to help ensure the event was a great success.
Anyone that was unable to attend this year’s event, but would like to be informed of future events can call 937-393-1922 ext. 3 or 1-888-378-2212 to be added to the mailing list.
All Highland Soil and Water Conservation District programs and services are offered on a non-discriminatory basis without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.