Thursday, October 20, 2016

Meet the Candidates, Steve Douglass

Steve Douglass holds a Master's degree in elementary administration from Ohio University, and served as a teacher and principal with the Cambridge City School District for 35 years. He was a Guernsey County commissioner from 2008-2012. Steve and his wife, Sherry, reside in Cambridge Township, where they raised two daughters. He has served on the SWCD board since 2013.

Meet the Candidates, Mark Roberts

Meet the Candidate Mark Roberts.
Mark Roberts retired after 27 years as a heavy equipment operator with AEP in Conesville. He currently manages a 300 acre hay and cow/calf family farm operation. He is a member of Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and a member and trustee of Cumberland Buffalo Presbyterian Church. He served as President of Local 1366 and 31 year member of UMWA and is currently a Spencer Township Trustee. He has been married to his wife Marsha for 30 years, has two children, Chelsey and Joe, and two grandchildren, Caiden and Cale.

Request for Absentee Ballot

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For anyone unable to come to the annual meeting and cast your ballot here is the request for an absentee ballot. Simply fill this out and get it back to us by mail or stop by the office and you can get your vote in.

Monday, October 17, 2016

2016 Annual Meeting October 26th at The Cambridge Eagles Kitchen Voting Starts at 6 PM

Come one, come all, to the 74th annual Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting dinner and election on October 26th 2016  at the Cambridge Eagles Kitchen where tickets for the meal can be purchased for $10 at the door or in advance from any Guernsey SWCD employee or board member. The dinner includes roast beef, stuffed pork loin, baked potato, lima beans, tossed salad, roll, desserts, iced tea, coffee, and water. The doors open at 6 PM for the voting of Guernsey SWCD supervisors followed by dinner at 7 PM and an informational presentation at 7:45 PM. This year’s incumbent is Steve Douglass, running against Steve is Mark Roberts. One of these two fine gentlemen will be elected to a three year term on the board of supervisors which helps guide and oversee the district. All eligible voters are individuals who are at least 18 years of age and a resident of Guernsey County or at least 18 years of age and own real estate in Guernsey County. If you are unable to attend the day of the meeting to vote and want to cast your ballot, please contact the district office about an absentee ballet. We encourage any and all eligible voters to weigh in on this important process. After voting and the dinner, an informational program will be presented by Rick Booth, of the Guernsey County Historical Society. Rick has been a member of the historical society for many years and is a wealth of knowledge to the days of yesteryear and is sure to have several interesting topics and facts for us. For more information about the annual meeting, please contact the Guernsey SWCD office at 740-489-5276.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

USDA offers Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Sign-up.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from landowners in Guernsey and Noble counties for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) until October 28, 2016
What is EQIP?  
The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to landowners and agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices that improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, and other related natural resources. EQIP may also assist landowners with meeting Federal, State, and Local environmental regulations.  Financial assistance payments through EQIP are made to eligible landowners and producers on completed practices or activities identified in an EQIP contract that meets NRCS Standards. Payment rates are set each fiscal year and are attached to the EQIP contract when it is approved. Payment rates for each Conservation Practice can be found at the Ohio NRCS Website.
EQIP includes Conservation planning and financial assistance:
NRCS provides landowners and land managers with free technical assistance, or advice for their land. Technical assistance includes: Resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if and what financial assistance is right for you. Dedicated EQIP funds are available for conservation practices targeting On-Farm Energy, Organic Systems, High Tunnel Systems, Honeybee and other wildlife habitat, as well as several landscape-based initiatives, including:  Livestock, Pasture, Cropland, Forestry, and Wildlife categories.
 Eligibility for financial assistance:
As part of the application process, we will check to see if you are eligible. To be eligible you as a landowner, or land manager, will need to bring an official tax ID to the USDA service center. Applicants will also need a property deed or lease agreement that shows you have control of the property. If USDA records are not already established, the applicant can establish or update their records at the USDA service center. Other documents may be necessary for the applicant to be eligible for funding. An eligibility document checklist is available for applicants on the Ohio NRCS Website or at a local USDA service center.
Competitive ranking of applications:
Once a complete and valid application is submitted that is supported by a conservation plan, NRCS will look at the applications and rank them when the funding period opens. All applications are ranked based on National, State, and Local resource concerns. The amount of conservation benefits to the environment in supporting the conservation plan, and the needs of the applicant are considered in the ranking process. Ranking questions are of public record and can be found on the Ohio NRCS website.

Stop by the USDA Service Center at 1300 Clark St. Suite 10, Cambridge, Ohio 43725. Or call Jay McElroy, District Conservationist at 740-432-5621 ext. 119 to discuss and see if EQIP is right for you.

Know Your Soils

Come on out to Robert Gray's Farm on Oct. 18th to hear all about soils! Rick Griffin, NRCS Soil Scientist, Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator, and Jason Tyrell, Ag. Resource Specialist for the Guernsey SWCD will fill you in on all you need to know. Topics that will be covered include; Soil health, soil structure, soil/ forage testing techniques, and comprehending those tests. For more information about this FREE event or to register, please call the Guernsey SWCD at 740-489-5276.

Friday, September 30, 2016

One year left to get certified

September 26, 2016 By 
Ohio farmers have less than a year to get certified in fertilizer application to be permitted to use fertilizer under Ohio law.
In 2014, Ohio passed the Agriculture Nutrients Certification law and Dr. Mary Ann Rose with Ohio State University says farmers need to be certified if they wish to use fertilizers on their fields.
“If they are fertilizing an agricultural commodity greater than 50 acres. There are some exceptions. For example this law does not cover manure application. It’s essentially N,P, and K guaranteed analysis fertilizer.” says Rose.
Dr. Rose says a few seminars will be held this fall throughout Ohio but the majority of the training sessions (To read more, Click the link below): 

Success with Nutrient Management Practices


September 27, 2016
 By nn

Farmers have found success with their operations after implementing water quality practices to reduce phosphorous and nutrient runoff from their crop fields.
Frank Burkett III from Stark County in eastern Ohio says he built additional manure storage on his dairy farm so manure can be applied to fields at optimum times of the year.
“The cover crops have been a great addition to our operation. The additional manure storage has allowed us to manage our nutrients and place them on the crops when they need them rather than the manure storage dictating when we do nutrient applications to our fields” says Burkett.
Burkett is the President of the Ohio Farm Bureau.
Terry McClure is from Paulding County in western Ohio on the Indiana border. He tells Brownfield finding productive uses for (TO KEEP READING, CLICK LINK BELOW): 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bay's Awarded for Family Farm Conservation

Ohio Conservation Farm Family Award recipients Ed and Karen Bay think about all the people who’ve contributed to the success of their farm and conservation practices, they keep adding to the list: parents and grandparents; Ed’s high school ag teacher, Bob Lyons; OSU Extension employees like Merlin Wentworth and Cliff Little; Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District staff members like David Sayre and Jason Tyrell; good neighbors who are always ready to lend a hand; longtime employee Jerry Thompson; and many more. “We’re getting the award, but it’s a whole group of people who contributed to it,” Ed says. Karen adds, “It takes a community to build a farm.” The Bays’ 470-acre farm in Guernsey County includes a dairy herd of 40 registered Jerseys and a beef cow-calf herd with 50 Angus-cross cows. They raise corn and alfalfa hay, and manage 200 acres of pasture. “We try to raise all the feed we need to support everything, and most years we’re successful at that,” says Ed. Farming Guernsey County’s rolling ground presents some conservation challenges, including poor drainage and surface runoff, lack of water access for livestock, wildlife damage, and steep hills. Conservation farming practices are needed for the environment and the farm’s long-term profi tability, says Ed. “I heard my dad say many times, ‘They’re not making any more ground, and if you take care of your ground, it will take care of you.’ ” To improve their farm, the Bays installed subsurface tiling and built grass waterways to divert surface runoff away from sensitive areas. “They keep the water away from where you don’t want it,” Ed says. Keeping soil in place The Bays installed spring developments to offer livestock watering facilities in their pastures. In spots where soil is at risk of slipping down steep hillsides, pin trees were planted to hold the soil. They use fencing to exclude cattle from vulnerable woodlots and use a rotational grazing system to better manage pastures. On crop ground, they raise corn for silage, grain and hay. Their common rotation includes one year of corn followed by fi ve or six years in alfalfa and grass hay production. The Bays are leaders in the area in the use of no-till and cover crops. “There’s very little over winter that doesn’t have cover on it,” Ed notes. For the last three years, they’ve participated in a cover crop cost-share program through the local Soil and Water Conservation District. Although they have used aerial seeding for cover crops, Ed prefers using a drill or seeder. While aerial seeding is convenient and quick, he says, “the only problem is, it didn’t work.” Because of dry conditions, Ed did not get the stand he wanted. If he is harvesting corn for grain, he often plants cereal rye as a cover because it performs well, even when planted later in the fall. On ground that has been harvested earlier for corn silage, he’s had success with other cover crops such as turnips. To manage cattle manure, soil tests determine where it should be applied. They have about six months of storage for manure from their milk parlor and freestall barn. “We try to manage our storage empty rather than full,” Ed notes. “Its really nice, so that if the ground is too wet or frozen, you can stay off of it.” Damage from wildlife is a concern for the Bay family. This year they lost a calf to coyotes and have experienced crop damage from deer, turkeys, raccoons and crows. “They’ll go right down the row and pull them out,” Ed says of the crows. Using nonlethal methods like propane cannons, and trash bags tied to resemble dead crows, “we try old home remedies and modern technology,” Karen says. Besides farming, the Bays run an ag fertilizer business. Through the business, Ed works with other area farmers on managing soil fertility while protecting water. Karen spent 38 years working off the farm Conservation teamwork as a teacher before retiring a few years ago. Both are emergency medical technicians. The Bays are building on a family history of farming in Guernsey County. Ed’s ancestors started farming there in 1832, and their daughters are the seventh generation. Their girls have been involved with the farm from a young age. “Ed took them to the barn before they could walk in a little red wagon,” Karen recalls. “They sat there in the wagon and watched him work.” As their daughters grew up, Ed involved them with the farm work and taught them how to do every farm task. If for some reason he couldn’t run the farm, his daughters could step in. “I’d like to think they would miss me, but they could go out to the barn and do it all.” Farm life includes successes and failures, Karen says. “The girls have learned how to handle both. As a mother looking on, our children have really benefi ted from living on the farm in many, many ways.” Oldest daughter Allison is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University and served for two years with the Peace Corps in the Philippines. She is working on a master’s in public health at Emory University in Atlanta. Their middle child, Emily, a Muskingum University graduate, is in her third year of medical school. She hopes to return to the area to practice medicine, while raising cattle on the side. Their youngest daughter, Alex Scott, is a sophomore at Meadowbrook High School and is active in the FFA.

Above are Edward and Karen Bay with Guernsey SWCD staff Casey Brooks, Jason Tyrell, and Levi Arnold along with former Guernsey SWCD Technician Dave Sayre.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Open House

On August 17th the Guernsey SWCD hosted an open house at the newly renovated facilities at Moore Memorial Woods. The district has owned the property since the early 50's and is a local land lab where different forestry practices have been applied and can be viewed. The property also has a few miles of trails throughout the woods and is open to the public for use. Guernsey SWCD staff and board members welcomed well over 20 county residents to the woods to meet the staff, supervisors, learn about the woods, and see what services the district can provide to county residents. For more information about the district or Moore Woods, please contact the Guernsey SWCD at 740-489-5276.

Monday, August 22, 2016

5 steps to cover crop success

5 steps to cover crop success

Cover crop expert provides tips on how to select and plant an effective cover crop.

Published on: Aug 17, 2016

Ask a farmer what’s the hardest part of growing cover crops and the answer will be fairly consistent: establishing a cover crop. Nathan Johanning, extension educator with the University of Illinois and state representative for the Midwest Cover Crops Council, understands farmers’ hesitation - especially after trying and failing to establish a cover crop. However, with a few important tips in mind, Johanning is confident Illinois farmers can successfully plant and establish a cover crop.
Here are 5 things Johanning says farmers should keep in mind before planting cover crops:
1) Pick a winner.
Not all cover crops are created equal and there are many factors you should consider, including what you hope to achieve with the cover crop: erosion control, nitrogen production, or weed suppression. “Choose your cover crop species based on the time of year and what will work,” says Johanning. Oilseed radish and oats should be planted earlier than cereal rye, he explains.
2) Timing is everything.
Johanning recommends planting at least one month, if not earlier, ahead of.......(To read more, click the link below):