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): 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

2016 Pond Clinic

The rain didn't stop twenty eager to learn people from coming to our pond clinic. The Guernsey SWCD and Guernsey OSU Extension held a pond clinic on 8/16/2016 at Bill Bertram's farm. Bill showed us his unique irrigating system where he pumps water from his pond to his many fields of produce to ensure they have enough water during the dry summer months. Bill and his wife Shirley own and operate Bertram's Farm Market on St. Rt. 800 in eastern Guernsey County. Chris Skatula, NRCS Civil Engineer Tech. discussed pond design, construction, soils, and other factors to consider before building a pond on your property. Clif Little, Guernsey County OSU Extension Educator talked to us about all the different pond weeds that can be problematic in a pond and many different ways that they can be dealt with both biologically, and chemically. Levi Arnold Guernsey SWCD Wildlife/Forestry Specialist wrapped up the discussion by talking about wildlife in ponds, ways that people can create habitat for the fish they're trying to manage in ponds, how pond design can effect wildlife and some nuisance wildlife in ponds and how to deal with them. We would like to thank Guernsey SWCD Ag Resource Specialist for organizing this event. We would also like to thank our board member Bill and his wife Shirley Bertram for hosting this great event and Ruth Ford and Shirley Bertram for whipping up a wonderful supper for us all. For more information about ponds or our fall fish sale please contact the district at 740-489-5276.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

ODA EPA Farm Pesticide Disposal Collection

Don't forget folks! on August 23rd from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and Guernsey County OSU Extension will be hosting a farm pesticide disposal collection. This is a great opportunity to get rid of all those old partial containers of pesticides that are just sitting around your barn taking up space. Please note that only farm chemicals will be accepted; Paint, antifreeze, solvents and household products will not be accepted. To pre-register or for more information please contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6987.

Monday, August 15, 2016

2016 Fish Fingerling Sale

The Guernsey SWCD is having their first Fish Fingerling Sale. Please see the attached photos for more information about species available and pricing. For questions about pond stocking, pond size, or anything else regarding our fish sale please contact the district at 740-489-5276.

The Scoop on Squirrels

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Milkweed for Monarchs

Pollinator species are experiencing population declines across the United States. In particular, the monarch butterfly has drastically declined in Ohio and in the wintering grounds of Mexico.  In an effort to increase habitat for migrating monarch butterflies, Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District and the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) announce the 1st Annual Statewide Common Milkweed Pod Collection scheduled from September 1st- October 30th.   Ohio is host to seven species of milkweed and is a priority area for monarch habitat conservation.  Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the species of focus for the 1st Annual Statewide Common Milkweed Pod Collection.
This effort has the potential to increase milkweed, the sole host plant for monarch butterflies. The monarch butterflies that hatch here in the summer migrate to Mexico for the winter and are responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring. 

To make the Common Milkweed Pod Collection successful, local involvement is needed and that is where the Guernsey County community can play a major role.  In partnership with OPHI, Guernsey Soil & Water is promoting the Common Milkweed Pod Collection, providing pollinator education and designating the Soil & Water office as a drop off site for common milkweed pods during the months of September and October.  Please join Guernsey Soil & Water in this effort to replenish an essential plant in Ohio and thus benefit Monarch populations.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Pond Clinic

A FREE pond clinic will be held at the Bertram Orchad on Tuesday August 16th 2016 from 6-8 PM. This exciting and educational program will cover topics such as utilizing ponds as an irrigation system, common pond weeds and control measures, nuisance wildlife control and habitat enhancement, as well as construction and design. Speakers will include Bill Bertram, owner/ operator at Bertram's Orchard, Clif Little OSU Extension Educator, Chris Skatula, Civil Engineer Tech for NRCS, and Levi Arnold, Wildlife Forestry Specialist for Guernsey SWCD. For more information and to register please call     740-489-5300.

Conservation Camp

Well, as of 7/28/16 our 2016 conservation camp concluded. Our theme this year was save the butterfly save the world in an effort to educate the youth of the county about the importance of pollinators and the relationships they share with humans. Day one started out at salt fork state park where we did some traditional favorites of camp that included; fishing, archery, canoeing, and some games. Thanks to lots of water we were able to make it through the heat. Day two was quite a different tone. With storms upon us nearly all day we had a change in schedule. Diana Tolliver, bee keeper extraordinaire taught us all about bee keeping and the significance of honey bees. Following that we made several different crafts where the kids made their own pollinator and made their own butterfly/moth life cycle. A quick break in the weather allowed us for a short hike. With storms staying relentless we trucked the kids back to the office for a film on pollinators which they enjoyed very much. Thanks to the staff at Salt Fork State Park, Brooke Johnson and Nicole Stevens from Deerassic, Samantha Ackerman from Belmont SWCD, Dianne Tolliver, board member Jo Lucas, and all GSWCD Staff. Thank you for making the 31st annual conservation camp a success.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Moore Woods Open House

Ginseng Program

On Wednesday, July 23rd the Guernsey SWCD along with Deerassic Park Education Center held a program to educate the public about Ginseng. There were nearly 30 people in attendance of the program. We would like to thank Officer Berry and Officer Kieffer of the Ohio Division of Wildlife for bringing in samples and explaining all about ginseng.