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.
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Ag Resources Winter Workshop Feb 20
The Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Brown, Clermont, Clinton and Highland counties are excited to rollout the new Southwest Ohio Agricultural Conservation Menu (SOACM) website during the Ag Resources Winter Workshop on Feb 20, from 9 am. till noon at the Southern State Community College located at 351 Brooks-Malott Road Mt. Orab, Ohio 45154. The workshop, is designed to update landowners on conservation programs and technical services that are available locally to advance farming practices. 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. Additional topics that will be discussed during the workshop include; recommendations for improving Nutrient Management using Precision Ag Technologies, Mental Health Awareness, the new H2Ohio Initiative, local water quality monitoring efforts and much more. Make plans to join us for the Ag Resources Winter Workshop by registering at, www.soacm.com/news-events/ or by calling the Highland SWCD office at 937-393-1922 ext 3. Breakfast will be provided by the Brown-Clermont-Highland Farm Bureau Association.
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.
The Highland Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors will hold their regular monthly Board meeting on Wednesday February 19, 2020 instead of the regular scheduled second Wednesday of the month. The mtg will be held at 8:00 a.m. in the Highland SWCD office located at 514 Harry Sauner Rd. in Hillsboro and is open to the public.
Cover Crop Walk Scheduled
The Highland SWCD and the Highland County Farm Bureau have partnered together to host a follow-up field day to reveal the success of planting directly into green cover crops and learn the economic benefits of grazing cover crops while maintaining the nutrients. The event is set for April 15, 2020 at Brown Farms in Highland County. This field day will offer a unique on-site walk of established cover crop options for landowners to carefully consider what variety will best advance their operation. Registration is due by April 10. Click on the events tab above to view the flyer for more details and to register on-line.
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.