Jeff Boike took home top honors at this years’ 76th Annual Meeting by being named the 2018 Cooperator of the year by the Highland SWCD supervisors and staff. Boike was selected due to his devotion to agricultural and the determination to improve soil health and water quality throughout his farming operation. He served 12 outstanding years as an SWCD Supervisor and has helped with the installation of various conservation practices throughout Highland County. Boike 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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FFA Land Judging Winners (l-r); SWCD Technician Chuck Williams, Urran Winner Garrett Brewer from McClain FFA, Ag Winner Trey Wilkinson from Fairfield FFA and Award Sponsor Marcy Prushing representing Farm Credit Mid-America.
Highlights of the 76th SWCD Annual Meeting
The 76th Annual Meeting of the Highland Soil and Water Conservation District was held on October 18, 2018 at the Ponderosa Banquet Center in Hillsboro. During the meeting several awards were presented starting with the Conservation Poster Contest Winners being recognized. Americo Brioli from Lynchburg-Clay took home 1st place, Chelsea Winters from Hillsboro was 2nd, Solomon Combs from Bright Local 3rd, Abbie Lovett from Greenfield 4th and Hannah Hamilton from Fairfield 5th. The high individuals in the FFA Land Judging Contest were given awards sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America. Garrett Brewer from McClain FFA was the winner in the Urban Division and Trey Wilkinson from Fairfield FFA was the Ag Division winner.
Jeff Boike took home top honors at this years’ Annual Meeting by being named the 2018 Cooperator of the year by the Highland SWCD supervisors and staff. Boike was selected due to his devotion to agricultural and the determination to improve soil health and water quality throughout his farming operation. He served 12 outstanding years as an SWCD Supervisor and has helped with the installation of various conservation practices throughout Highland County. Boike 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.
Following the presentation of awards, the election committee reported that Larry Shannon was re-elected to serve another three-year term on the SWCD Board of Supervisors. The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District would like to thank everyone that helped to make the 76th Annual Meeting a success.
GRAZING WORKSHOP OFFERS NEW CONCEPT
An informational grazing workshop was held at the Millstone Creek Farm on July 24, 2018 located at 9061 Grabill Road in Hillsboro, OH. This was a collorabitive event hosted by the Highland Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, USDA NRCS, the Ohio State University Extension and the ODNR, Division of Wildlife to provide opportunities for farmers to learn new advanced grazing techniques. Topics of discussion included; Pasture Management, Beef Cattle Updates, Warm Season Grass Pastures, Conservation Programs, and the History of the Millstone Creek Farm. A delicious dinner was provided by the Highland County Cattlemen Association and Union Stockyards. The educational evening offered the opportunity to learn first-hand how the farm converted fescue to perennial native grasses, to allow a unique grazing technique that will increase water quality, improve soil health, and provide wildlife habitat. This conversion concept is featured in the national Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) project through USDA, NRCS that will assist eligible livestock producers to implement conservation practices to address habitat loss without taking their land out of production. If you would like more information on the WLFW program you may contact the NRCS or SWCD office at 937-393-1922 x 3.
Clear Creek RCPP USDA Funding Available
The Clear Creek Water Quality & Wildlife Habitat Initiative is a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) that promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver assistance for conservation and wildlife management practices in the Clear Creek Watershed. Lead Partner, Highland Soil and Water Conservation District was awarded funding for The Clear Creek RCPP with the help of various partners including Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife, City of Hillsboro, US Fish and Wildlife, and National Wild Turkey Federation.
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 RCPP 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 innovative 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) and partner funds 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 are 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. Application deadline to be considered in the second sign-up period is January 19, 2018.
Highland County Farm Tour a Great Success!
The 5th Annual Highland County Farm Tour took place on Sept. 15, 2018. The farm tour was a result of a collaborative effort between Highland County Farm Bureau and Highland Soil and Water Conservation District. Over 130 people attended the event in the New Petersburg area.
The tour featured beautiful, diverse farms and provided beneficial information on local sustainable agriculture. The tour consisted of stops at the following locations: Steven M. Karnes Hay Farm; featuring a presentation on hay/forage management by OSU Extension Forage Specialist Dr. Mark Sulc, Surber Family Swine Operation; where participants learned about the 2,400 sow – breed to wean facility, Karnes Orchard; which highlighted the history of the orchard, the new no-site market and how the storage facility loan program through the Farm Service Agency assisted them in purchasing a cooler to extend their season. In addition to learning about these unique farms, participants also enjoyed a presentation from the Cardinal Land Conservancy after lunch on how to protect their farms from future development.
The Highland County Farm Bureau and Highland Soil and Water Conservation District would like to thank Reed’s Trailer Sales for supplying a trailer and Family, Farm and Home 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.
Highland SWCD/NRCS Celebrates YMCA's 15th Anniversary
An open house was held at the Highland County YMCA on June 24, 2018 to celebrate their 15th Anniversary. The Highland SWCD and NRCS participated in the event to showcase local businesses in the community. Hillsboro City Councilman Justin Harsha presented a proclamation to the YMCA in recognition of the facility's mark.
SWCD Provides a Hot Meal to Ronald McDonald House in Dayton!
The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District took to the kitchen on March 9 in honor of the Lee Walker Family, to provide a hot meal to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Dayton, OH. This was a wonderful opportunity to help others in need and be a small part of an amazing home to parents while their children are under care at the Dayton Children's Hospital. If you would like to make a difference and get involved you may visit; www.RMHCdayton.org for information.
New Employee Hired
Jesse Stacey was recently hired as the District Resource Specialist for the Highland County SWCD. He graduated from Hocking College in 2014 and majored in GeoEnviromental Science. In 2013, Jesse spent the summer interning with the Highland SWCD in assisting the District Technician. He grew up on a local farm and enjoys hunting and fishing. He has been married to his wife Dana for seven years and has one three-year-old daughter named Eliza. Jesse’s passion for the outdoors lead him to a career in conservation so others can enjoy our natural resources for generations to come.
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.