Monday, December 30, 2013

Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry

Ohio Department of Natural Resources -- Deer hunters donated 58,500 pounds of venison to local food banks this hunting season, according to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry and the ODNR. Records show that hunters donated 1,170 white-tailed deer which totaled about 234,000 meals for needy Ohioans, with one processed deer amounting to about 50 pounds of venison and 200 meals, the agencies reported.   Thanks to consistently generous hunters, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has ranked the state fifth nationally in hunter-donated venison.

Because hunters aren't responsible for the processing fees associated with the venison, the FHFH and ODNR partner to cover the costs to send it to one of 77 approved state meat processors.  Donations will continue through the end of the deer-archery season on Feb. 2.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Discover the Cover: Farmers Realize Benefits, Challenges of Soil-Improving Cover Crops

A growing number of farmers throughout the nation have “discovered the cover” — and for some very good reasons.

They’re recognizing that by using cover crops and diverse rotations, it’s possible to actually improve the health and function of their soil, said David Lamm, a soil health expert with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Farmers are also reaping the benefits healthy soils bring to their operations in the form of better nutrient cycling, improved water infiltration and more consistent yields over time.

“The principles of building healthy soils are the same everywhere — you have to stop tilling the soil and switch from a monoculture crop rotation to one with a diversity of crops that should include cover crops,” Lamm said. “But the path to soil health is different on each farm.”

Keeping soil covered and growing with living roots is a critical component in improving the health and function of the soil, Lamm said.

“That means understanding how to manage cover crops in a soil health management system, and that can be one of the biggest challenges farmers face,” he said.

By Ron Nichols, Natural Resources Conservation Service 

Cover crop and cash crop selections and rotation sequences should be chosen to fit the farmer’s resource concerns and priorities, and the resources available at that farm.

“Farmers not familiar with how mixtures of cover crops work together might ask ‘why would I want to plant a cover crop that uses up all my water?’” Lamm said. “But using diverse annual cropping rotations and cover crop combinations increase soil organic matter. And for each 1 percent in organic matter, there can be a 25 percent increase in water holding capacity and up to 30 pounds an acre more of available nitrogen.”

While it is true cover crops use some soil profile water, they simultaneously improve the soil structure by building soil aggregates, he said. They also provide mulch that reduces evaporation and runoff losses and break up subsoil to increase water recharge.

“By using cover crops, no-till and crop rotations, farmers are finding that their soil actually has more available water for their cash crops when those crops really need it,” he said. “Those covers actually help protect farms against weather extremes like drought.”

Learn more about cover crops and “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil,” the agency’s soil health awareness campaign.

- See more at:

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Engineers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) announced that they have created a process that takes an enriched stew of algae and turns it into crude oil which, in turn, can be made into a usable bio-fuel. The development was announced in a recent issue of the journal Algal Research.

Read article and see video HERE

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First in the Series - 2014 Tree Seedling Sale includes White Pine

White Pine (Pinus strobus)
An evergreen tree from the Pine Family (Pinaceae)
White Pine, an evergreen conifer, is today widely distributed throughout eastern North America, including all of Ohio. It was originally confined to Appalachia, New England, and southern Canada at the time of European settlement, and occurred primarily in northeastern Ohio. Today, it is logged for the production of lumber, creosote-soaked telephone poles, and as pulp for the production of paper. White Pine is commonly transplanted today as a landscape evergreen tree, and is also sold as a cut Christmas tree.
Also known as Eastern White Pine, this towering evergreen easily grows to 80 feet tall by 40 feet wide (or larger) under optimum conditions, with a rapid growth rate. Its shape is upright pyramidal when young, but becomes irregular with maturity. The very straight trunk of White Pine is punctuated by a whorl of lateral branches every one to two feet, and from this sequential arrangement, a close approximation of the age of the tree can be determined (simply count the number of whorls from bottom to top). As a member of the Pine Family, it is related to other Pines as well as the Firs, Larches, Spruces, and Hemlocks.
Planting Requirements - White Pine performs best in evenly moist, rich, well-drained, acidic soils in full sun. It is often intolerant of soils that are alkaline in pH and poorly drained; therefore, the heavy clay soils of much of central and western Ohio cause it to struggle in parts of this region, while it often thrives in eastern Ohio. Needle chlorosis (yellowing) and stunted growth are prime symptoms of a soil-related problem. Its rapid growth rate allows for a quick result in terms of a harvestable timber tree, a mature landscape tree, or as a cut Christmas tree. It grows in zones 3 to 8.
Potential Problems - In spite of thriving in many natural settings, White Pine is very susceptible in urban settings to alkaline soil pH (causing chlorosis, resulting in yellowing of the needles and stunting of growth), winter salt spray, air pollution, compacted clay soils, and poor water drainage. Young transplants and saplings are also subject to deer and rabbit browsing in any setting. White Pine suffers from white pine blister rust, a fungus that attacks the inner bark. This primary disease can be controlled by removing all gooseberry and alpine currant shrubs within a quarter mile of the tree, since they serve as alternate hosts. White Pine is also attacked by the white pine weevil, which bores into the terminal shoots and distorts the growth of the upper canopy. This primary pest may severely impact mass plantings, such as those that occur in pure forests stands, nursery plantations, and Christmas tree farms.

The White Pine is among several varieties which will be offered in the 2014 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District. For more information and to receive a 2014 Tree Sale order blank, please call 740-432-5624

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Root rot saps traditional Christmas fir trees

BAKERSVILLE, N.C. -- Jeff Pollard trudged up the steep slope and stopped at a desiccated, rust-brown tree. Two months earlier, workers had tagged this Fraser fir as ready for market.
It was going to be someone's Christmas tree. And now it was dead.

"Never get paid back for this tree," he said with a shrug. "Eleven years of work -- gone."

Read rest of article  HERE

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ohio-shale drilling permits top 1,000

Late last month, Ohio regulators approved their 1,000th drilling permit in the Utica shale, a milestone that was nearly four years in the making.
As of Dec. 7, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources had approved 1,015 permits. It hit the 1,000 mark on Nov. 26.
Permit activity continues to increase, with 562 approved this year, 371 last year and the remaining 82 in 2010 and 2011.
The number this year exceeds the projection of 525 that state officials said in May that they expected for all of 2013.

Read rest of article   HERE

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fall gypsum improves soil for next crop

WOOSTER, Ohio – Farmers who apply gypsum to their fields in the fall can expect to increase sulfur and calcium in their soils for their next crop, an Ohio State University scientist says.

Read rest of article  HERE

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Composting for the lazy

For experienced gardeners, good compost is worth its weight in gold. There’s nothing healthier for your plants than rich black compost
But for most gardeners, the only way to get compost is to buy it.
You already know how good compost is for your garden, but how can you have an unlimited free supply of it without a lot of hard work?

Read rest of article HERE

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Restoring Riparian Habitat for Soil & Water Conservation

By Travis Smith, Wildlife/Forestry Specialist 
I was working as a research biologist conducting biological assessments in the Great Miami River watershed when I was first exposed to the incredible impact that sediment pollution can have on an ecosystem.  I did not realize how major of a role  riparian vegetation played in soil and water conservation until I observed  firsthand the impacts of sediment pollution on an ecosystem where no riparian BMP’s (Best Management Practices) were utilized.  The entire reach of the river adjacent to the farm was completely silted in, which destroyed pool, riffle, run, structures, thus creating monotypic morphology.  It also destroyed important breeding habitat for many sensitive aquatic wildlife species, and decreases bank stabilization.  Decreased bank stabilization can cause sloughing, bank slippage, and extreme soil erosion, which results in the loss of valuable cropland.  With the demand growing for viable cropland which is needed to meet the world’s growing food supply, we can ill afford to let our farmland continue to be washed away.              

The riparian zone:  is the interface between the land and a river or stream.  Riparian zones are significant in ecology, environmental management, and civil engineering because of the role they play in soil and water conservation

Riparian zones function in the 4Rs

The 4R nutrient stewardship represents the four rights of fertilizer management- source, rate, time, and place.

The impacts of eutrophication caused by the increased use of fertilizer needed to keep up with the growing demand for crops have been felt by the presence of toxic algae blooms in numerous lakes, rivers, and streams throughout Ohio.  Currently Grand Lakes St. Mary and the Sandusky Bay are probably the two biggest hot button topics in the state related to this issue.

Research shows riparian zones are instrumental in water quality improvement for both surface runoff and water flowing into streams through subsurface or groundwater flow. Particularly the attenuation of nitrate or denitrification of the nitrates from fertilizer in this buffer zone is important. Riparian zones can play a role in lowering nitrate contamination in surface runoff from agricultural fields, which runoff would otherwise damage ecosystems and human health. This process is also called biofiltration.  

Controlling the source, rate, time, and place of fertilizers are extremely important, but could be made exponentially more effective with the restoration of the riparian buffer zones to aid in sequestering excess nutrient runoff.

Types of Restoration

Horticultural restoration- refers to a high level of site management and external human inputs that include site preparation (land-leveling, disking), planting of nursery-grown trees and shrubs in predesigned patterns, irrigation, and chemical weed-control for three or more years. Horticultural restoration is appropriate along rivers where the river’s physical processes have been severely modified by humans with dams, levees, bank stabilization, and water diversions.

Process restoration- which strives to reestablish river processes onto the site. Process restoration is appropriate on riparian sites along a river that retains functioning river processes (e.g. no dams, and few levees or water diversions).Process restoration attempts to restore a site by working with existing river processes. This may involve, for example, breaching a levee to reconnect the river to its floodplain behind the levee, or changing landuse, such as cessation of farming or a modified grazing plan, or creating topography by cutting swales or building low berms on the floodplain.

Gauging the Effectiveness of Riparian Buffers

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Grant partners SWCD, Schools and OEPA to promote water quality

A $5,000 Environmental Education Mini Grant was awarded this week to the Fayette Soil and Water Conservation District.   The grant will be used to purchase seeds, tree protectors and educational signs for a city farm streamside educational project along Paint Creek to reduce nutrient loadings upstream from the city of Washington Court House's drinking water treatment plant.   Volunteers will plant approximately five acres of trees and shrubs and 12 acres of prairie grass, wildflower mix and cool season grasses while students from two high school science clubs will monitor water quality upstream and within the project area, sample soils and measure tree and vegetative growth over several years.  The project is one of nine throughout the state that were funded for a total of $35,192.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Celebrating World Soil Day Today!

Too often, it’s treated like dirt.

But this week our living and life-giving soil is finally getting some of the respect it deserves as the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization celebrates World Soil Day on December 5 in Rome, Italy.  Under the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, the event is held each year with the goal of raising awareness of the importance of healthy soils for food security, ecosystem functions, and sustainable development.

Those of us who work in agriculture and natural resource conservation understand that healthy soil is the foundation upon which our food and fiber production is based. That’s why we’re calling it World Soil Health Day.

Understandably, it’s easy to take soil for granted because it’s mostly hidden from view—and few who live off the farm have reason to give it a second thought. Yet this amazing resource is responsible for nearly all life on the planet. Fortunately, scientists, conservationists and farmers are increasingly recognizing that keeping our soil healthy and functioning is the key to our survival.

Here in Guernsey county, the district joins with other conservation partners, working directly with private landowners to improve the health of the soil on our working lands. And by improving the health of the soil, we are also improving the health and vitality of our farms, families and communities.

This renewed focus on the health of our soil has created an exciting new revolution in American agriculture as farmers, ranchers and other landowners are increasingly making their land more productive and sustainable through soil health management systems.  Although all farming operations are different, most all can benefit from keeping the soil covered as much as possible; disturbing the soil as little as possible; keeping plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and diversifying plants as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

By improving soil health, Guernsey county agricultural producers can harvest benefits on and off the farm including increasing farmland sustainability and resilience; improving water and air quality; providing wildlife habitat; and reducing flooding.

World Soil Health Day serves as a reminder to all of us that we owe our existence to the soil. As we face mounting global production, climate and sustainability challenges, I believe there is no better time to work hand-in-hand with Guernsey county farmers and ranchers to improve the health of this critical living resource.

The promise of our future depends on it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ohio's deer harvest down 3%

COLUMBUS   Hunters in Ohio checked more than 22,600 deer on Monday, the opening day of the state's deer-gun season. The season runs through Sunday. Deer hunters get an extra 30 minutes each day to hunt.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, hunters have harvested about 3 percent fewer deer compared to the same time last season. Hunters have bagged almost 110,000 deer so far this season compared to roughly 113,000 last year.
Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year's season. They must have a valid deer permit and a valid Ohio hunting license.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Drive with caution - deer are on the move

Department of Transportation -- As deer hunting season ramps up, ODOT announced Monday that an increase in the animals' movements has caused an increase in vehicle crashes.   In 2012, 20,993 vehicle collisions involved deer were reported to ODOT. Six people were killed and 1,013 were injured as a result of the crashes  "Increased deer movement typically begins around the start of fall and continues past hunting season," said Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray. "The result can mean more deer on our highways and more crashes with vehicles."

 Total deer collisions, which ODOT has mapped out, were highest in Stark County, where 558 were reported. Richland County reported 558, Hamilton County reported 524 and Clermont and Lorain Counties both reported 470.   ODOT said motorists who strike a deer should report the crash to local law enforcement, the sheriff's department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Grants available through ODNR

Ohio Department of Natural Resources has approved grants that will improve public access to outdoor recreation facilities statewide.  NatureWorks and Land and Water Conservation Fund grants will fund 92 community-based projects to build and renovate parks and other recreational areas. Those projects include acquiring more than 30 acres of green space and developing and improving 28 playgrounds, 11 shelters and gazebos and nine park restrooms.  The department has said that it would like more than $2 million in NatureWorks grants and more than $500,000 in LWCF grants be awarded to communities across the state.  
For information on which municipalities received grant money and what they'll be spending it on, visit the ODNR grants webpage.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Remember Tree Stand Safety when hunting

With deer gun season underway statewide December 2 to 8, the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) urges those who hunt from treestands wear a Full Body Safety Harness (FBSH) and use a climbing safety strap whenever their feet leave the ground.

Tree stands are one of the most popular pieces of equipment used by deer hunters in Ohio and nationwide. However, due to human error and/or equipment failure, the number of debilitating or fatal injuries resulting from their use is higher than it should be. Statistically, one out of three hunters will fall from a tree stand at some point in his or her hunting career. Given that statistic, it is imperative that the proper safety gear be used — and used correctly.

All hunter and hunter education organizations recommend wearing a Full Body Safety Harness that distributes the hunter’s weight throughout their shoulders, chest, waist and legs thus securely supporting a fallen person without causing added harm or injury.

Here are a few tips to help prevent accidents this hunting season:

• Always use a FBSH and read manufacturer instructions before use.

• Before using your FSBH in the field, practice using it at ground level.

• Always use a climbing safety strap. Most accidents occur when climbing up or down from a tree stand.

• Never climb with anything in your hands. Always use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment.

For more safety tips visit the Division of Wildlife’s Tree Stand Safety page or to check your knowledge of tree stand safety take a free, online Tree Stand Safety Course from The Treestand Manufacturer’s Association at

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Be thankful for Ohio’s wildlife

Michelle Wood is the program administrator for the Holmes Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a graduate of Mount Union College with a degree in communications, and has been involved in natural resources and agriculture throughout her career

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks of course, but many hunters are especially thankful that it signals the start of deer gun season the following Monday.

I think I see more pickup trucks parked along the road the first day of gun season than are on the road. And while hunting is now for sport more so than necessity, many of us do not fully appreciate that the wildlife we see in abundance today, and maybe even complain about, could easily not exist at all or in small numbers. Let me digress a bit to explain some history.

Wildlife and land use
The Ohio Division of Wildlife has a set of great maps developed in 2003 to celebrate the bicentennial that illustrate what Ohio looked like every 100 years in terms of wildlife and land use. Educators use these maps to show students how Ohio has changed since its settlement.

Forest cover
The map of 1803 shows forest cover over all of Ohio, with the exception of the Great Black Swamp in the northwest and prairies in the southwest. Ohio was a dark, deep forest teeming with wildlife. It was said that a squirrel could cross Ohio without ever touching the ground. Surprisingly, also present were elk, black bears, wolves, mountain lions beaver, otters, bison and passenger pigeons. Written accounts cite flocks of passenger pigeons that were so large that they blocked the sun.

Beaver and other furbearers were trapped for their valuable pelts, a lucrative business that brought more and more people to Ohio. Beaver hats were the big thing in Europe at the time so beaver were trapped until they were extirpated, which means they could be found in other areas but not Ohio. There were no limits or laws regarding wildlife.

Cleared the land
As settlers arrived, they cleared the forest for farmland and towns. Rivers were straightened and canals built for transportation. From 1803 until 1883 the amount of forest in Ohio went from 24 million acres to four million acres. When the land use changed, so did wildlife populations.

Agriculture land
The map illustration of 1903 looks much different than 100 years prior. Much of Ohio is now agricultural land, with a small section of forests in the unglaciated southern part. Wildlife represented includes coyotes, cottontail rabbits, raccoons, muskrats, foxes and some otters in the northeast. Notice I did not mention whitetail deer or wild turkeys—they were extirpated. Only animals could adapt to the more open land habitat existed in decent numbers.
Not that these species are less important than the others, but there certainly wasn’t much wildlife diversity.

Conservation becomes popular
Conservation started to catch on when it became evident that wildlife regulations and conservation practices were needed for sustainability. The Dust Bowls of the 1930s led to the creation of soil and water conservation districts, and prior to that, wildlife regulations were implemented. Conservation leaders, both nationally and locally, got the message across that our natural resources could not be depleted without dire consequences. Conservation practices like contour strips, no-till, manure management, crop rotations and forest management are now the norm on farms, but at one time these were innovative practices. The results are less erosion, cleaner water, and wildlife increased wildlife habitat.

Abundant wildlife
Back to those wildlife maps—in 2003, the map illustration of Ohio looks a lot more like it did in 1803 than 1903, with bald eagles, river otters, beaver, Trumpeter swans, wild turkeys, and whitetail deer depicted. Wildlife management, conservation practices, and wildlife species reintroduction has led to healthy populations of wildlife that can be watched, trapped or hunted again. I’m thankful for that abundance.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving and water quality tips

Tips from Franklin SWCD

Did you know that what you do in the kitchen can influence water quality? When sanitary sewers have back-ups, the sewage can end up in your basement or spilling over into local streams and rivers. To prevent either of these occurrences, be careful what goes down the drain before and after your feast.

Grease should never be rinsed down a kitchen drain. When grease cools, it hardens and sticks to the walls of sewer pipes. This is one reason restaurants must have grease traps, which are carefully maintained. At home, I use a coffee can kept under the sink and then tossed in the trash.

Another common Thanksgiving problem is the overuse of the in-sink disposal. This usually leads to problems within the house or in the line out to the sewage main–resulting in clogged drains and the need to find a plumber over the holiday. But when enough households are putting so much organic waste into the sanitary sewer system, it can also cause clogging in the larger lines that could lead to overflows.

If you have a septic tank and leach field or an aerator system, you must be even more careful about what goes down the drain. Make sure that your guests know that nothing goes in the toilet except human waste (and toilet paper) and that nothing goes down the sink except liquids. Try to schedule laundry so that you don’t run the washing machine the same day you have lots of kitchen prep and washing up.

Thanksgiving is a good time to remember the compost bin. The trimmings from vegetables and salad-fixings will add needed nitrogen to the carbon of all those leaves you’ve just raked!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Workshop To Help Older Farmers

Aging farmers who want insight on how to remain productive in agriculture, continue gardening and stay active outdoors can hear tips and techniques from the Ohio AgrAbility Program at Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences during a workshop designed to address the evolving needs of older farmers.

The workshop, "I'm Not as Young as I Used To Be," seeks to show how to remain safe and productive as an older farmer, says Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility program coordinator for Ohio State University Extension.

Read rest of article  HERE

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Compost Water Heaters

For those of us who have successfully composted in the past, we know that a properly made compost pile produces a substantial amount of heat. In fact, when the pile stops creating heat it is usually done “cooking” and ready for the garden.
Jean Pain was a French innovator who lived in southern France from 1930 until his passing in 1981. He was able to create a compost-based energy production system that was capable of producing 100% of his energy needs.
Using compost alone, Jean was able to heat water to 140°F. He used this water for washing, cooking and heating his home. We aren’t talking about a small amount of water either. His system was able to heat water at a rate of 4 L per minute; or almost 1 gallon per minute.

Read rest of article HERE

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Turkeys Are A Bargain

Holiday shoppers can expect less-expensive turkeys and moderate price increases on other Thanksgiving staples this holiday season, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist says.

Read rest of article   HERE

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New effort helps farmers with tools to measure conservation impacts

By Ciji Taylor
With a suite of services, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is continuing to improve the science behind the techniques that help protect natural resources across the country.

NRCS is helping farmers install monitoring stations to test the quality of water flowing off their fields, measuring the effectiveness of conservation systems.

With an investment of $3 million, NRCS is partnering directly with farmers to voluntarily establish 20 edge-of-field monitoring stations that will measure the benefits of conservation systems, including cover crops, nutrient management and irrigation water management.

"Edge-of-field monitoring helps us know the true impacts of conservation," NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. "We are really excited because this data not only helps us and the producers but also helps us make a case for the value of conservation."

Information collected with the monitoring stations is not shared, Weller said. "We treat producers' information carefully," he said.

Participating farmers have partnered with university scientists, non-governmental organizations and other experts who will install and maintain the monitoring stations for them.  These farmers will implement suites of conservation practices appropriate for their farms, and partners will provide the results of the edge-of-field water quality monitoring back to them.

The financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, to install and maintain the monitoring systems for up to nine years, giving time to measure the impact of conservation systems on water quality.

Wayne Honeycutt, NRCS deputy chief for science and technology, said the monitoring stations will provide highly accurate measurements of conservation benefits.

“These monitoring stations allow us to measure the benefits of conservation for improving water quality right at the edge of farm fields, rather than assume conservation effects from in-stream measurements that are subject to influences outside of the farmer’s control,” Honeycutt said.

For example, a farmer along the North Tippah Creek in northern Mississippi is setting up a monitoring station that will track how cover crops reduce erosion and nutrient runoff. The farm is divided into different sections – some with conservation work and some without.

“This will help us measure the effectiveness of in-field conservation practices on nutrient and sediment runoff,” said Mississippi State University professor Robbie Kroger, who is collecting and analyzing data from the monitoring system.  “We will also be able to highlight the agronomic benefits of the practices showcasing environmental and agricultural benefits.”

Because of the cost of the monitoring systems and data analysis, many, like Mississippi State, have partnered with NRCS to make this program affordable to landowners.

“We realized from over 78 years of voluntary conservation assistance, that collaboration would be key to the success of these efforts,” Honeycutt said. “NRCS included partners, universities and other agencies in developing what we now have as the edge-of-field water quality activity standards.”

“In particular, scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service worked closely with the NRCS to ensure the scientific integrity of nearly every aspect of these new standards,” he said.

Farmers in Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Vermont were selected for the effort this year. Arkansas’ participation through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, which pools conservation efforts to improve water quality in the river, led to the most involvement at 14 systems.

“NRCS is working aggressively to improve the health of small watersheds in the state and the Mississippi River basin,” said Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist in Arkansas. “These producers are working with our conservation partners to put more conservation on the ground to improve water quality, maintain productivity and enhance wildlife habitat.”

The monitoring stations are part of the agency’s MRBI and watershed initiatives that help focus the right kind of conservation on the right acres to improve water quality across the country.

“Although NRCS has been treating resource concerns on private lands for more than 78 years, the top resource issues across the nation continue to be water quality and soil erosion,” said Tom Christensen, acting associate chief for operations.  “Edge-of-field monitoring will help to define the best solutions and will also be used to calibrate our models to get the most benefit from voluntary private lands conservation investments."

Information gained through edge-of-field monitoring will be evaluated each year to determine if additional stations are needed to measure conservation benefits for different soils, crops and conservation practices.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fence rows provide insights into restoring healthy soils

“Any farmer can tell you his or her fence rows have the best soil on the farm,” says Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor and Extension educator for Ohio State University.
“The organic matter there, where the soil was built naturally, may be 5 to 6 percent or higher depending on soil type,” Hoorman says. But organic matter levels have been cut in half on tilled soils.
“And the critical part of what’s missing is the active organic matter that comes from live roots. So what we’re trying to do is create farm fields with soil like the fence rows,” he says.
That means eliminating tillage and creating continuous living cover on the land. Hoorman has worked with farmers who have regained organic matter to levels as high as 5 percent with the system.
“Three of our primary goals for healthier soils and sustained yields are to get rid of compaction (improve soil structure), add organic matter, and jump-start microbial activity in the soil,” Hoorman says. “With that in mind, the best place to start no-till is in a long-term alfalfa field or in a CRP grass field where you already have healthy microbial populations.
“On the other hand, if you start in fields where you’ve been tilling for years, you have layers of compaction with the wrong microbes. The transition can be made, but it takes longer and it takes more nitrogen.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SE Ohio School uses class to build garden

STEWART, Ohio — During his "exploratory" class, Eric Nuber, eighth-grader at Federal Hocking Secondary School, knelt down next to one of the school's garden beds and gently tugged at the lime green leafy stems until he pulled out a bright red radish.
He brushed off the dirt, broke off the stem and took a bite.

Read rest of article  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wildlife-Related Workshop For Educators To Take Place in Portage Lakes

AKRON, OH – Educators who work with students pre-kindergarten through high school are invited to attend a free workshop on Friday, November 22, 2013. The workshop focuses on two supplemental curriculums which help teach wildlife-related conservation concepts using everyday subject areas like math, science, and social studies. Growing Up WILD (for ages 3-7 years) and traditional Project WILD (K-12) guidebooks will be provided to all participants who stay for the duration of the program.

The workshop will take place at Wildlife District Three headquarters, 912 Portage Lakes Drive in Akron (Portage Lakes) from 9am-4pm. All educators including classroom teachers, Scout Leaders, naturalists, program volunteers, and home-school educators are welcome to attend. There is no workshop fee but registration is required as spaces are limited. Call or email Jamey (Graham) Emmert at (330) 245-3020 or

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s senses of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them.  Workshop participants will take home an easy-to-use book containing nearly 30 field-tested activities focusing on wildlife and nature. These activities blend social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive skills to help foster learning and are correlated to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards and the Head Start Domains.

Project WILD involves young people and wildlife, a proven formula for generating interest and participation while teaching common academic disciplines. This is a supplementary education program emphasizing awareness, appreciation, and understanding of wildlife and natural resources. Project WILD is an ideal way to supplement your curriculum and fire the imagination of your students.

Read more about wildlife education programs and workshop opportunities by visiting

Friday, November 8, 2013

Radishes offer advantages in cover crop mix

Daikon radishes interplanted with oats
Farmers are increasingly discovering the benefits of cover crops. A fairly recent entry into cover crop mixes—radishes—demonstrate some of those benefits. Joel Gruver, a cover crop expert at Western Illinois University, says radishes are “a cover crop with much potential and few residue management challenges.” But, he cautions, they are not a “silver bullet.”

For example, Gruver says opportunities for fitting radishes into corn and soybean cash grain systems are limited compared to cropping systems with crops that are harvested earlier like small grains, vegetables, or corn silage. The district overcame this limitation this year by an innovative cost share program allowing them to be flown on by plane into standing corn and soybeans.  Early reports show that this can be a successful way to seed the radishes.

In any case, the advantages for using large-rooted daikon-type roots are extensive:

1. Robust roots can extend more than 3 feet deep in 60 days—after radishes winter-kill the channels created by the roots tend to remain open at the surface, improving infiltration, surface drainage and soil warming, as
well as improving root growth on following crops.
2. The radish roots are a biological alternative to deep ripping to alleviate soil compaction.
3. A good stand of radishes can eliminate nearly all weed growth during, and for some time after, active radish growth.
4. Because radish residues deteriorate rapidly after winter kill, there are few residues to deal with at planting
5. Rapid, deep extension of radish roots makes them excellent scavengers of residual nitrogen following
summer crops, both from the topsoil and deeper layers.
6. Because radish residues decompose and release nitrogen rapidly, the crop following may get an early boost in nitrogen uptake and growth, similar to following a legume cover crop.
7. Full canopy closure in as little as three weeks after planting offers rapid soil protection against erosion.
8. Lab tests show radish residues reduce the survival of root knot nematodes and soybean cyst nematodes.
9. On-farm comparisons in four states have shown significant increases in corn and soybean yields following
radishes compared to fallow or other cover crops.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

S.K. Worm Educational Resources

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it -- S.K. Worm, the official annelid, or worm, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service helps students explore soil.

Visit his website to find interactive educational games, FAQs, activity sheets, etc to help teach your student about the vital importance of the soil in our daily lives.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pipeline easement considerations

This list of things to consider in a pipeline easement lease was provided by the Carroll SWCD office.  


            Initial Payment and Due Date
            Crop Damage-Process and Payment
            Insurance Coverage- Grantee Minimum Levels of Coverage?
Indemnification of Grantor and Heirs etc., hold harmless
Prior Notice Before Entering Property?
Recoupment of CAUV tax savings if land use changes from Agriculture to Commercial due to construction
Easement Notarized and recorded in County Recorder’s Office
Clearing brush and trees-value of timber harvested and future timber production stack harvested timber at accessible location, chip cherry leaves before fence is built, stump grinding
Payment for easement area, first pipeline, second/additional pipelines, pig valves and other above ground appurtenances, access roads, temporary water line payment, staging and storage areas

Easement Area
Ingress and Egress Routes (certified survey of location)
Access roads- Limitations and damages
Temporary Routes
            Depth of Cover over pipeline
            Right of Way Easement Width (Construction and Permanent Widths) (certified survey)
            Pipeline Location Approval
Pipeline size, number and Pressure
            Pipeline Size Limitations
Restrictions on Grantor/ Grantee Use of Easements

            Topsoil Removal and Protection
            Rock Removal and Disposal
            Pipeline Construction Method- "Double Ditch" Method
            Spring/ water supply Repair/ Replacement
Pumping Water from Open Trenches
            Additional Drainage Tile Lines
             Time limit of 1 year to begin construction or agreement voided (90 days construction
             Limit or penalty fee accessed)
Backfill Profile, and Trench Crowning
Subsoil De-compaction, and soil shattering
Repair Affected Tile Lines
Repair of Existing Conservation Practices Disturbed During Construction
Seeding and Fertilizer Recommendations, L-N-P-K Rates and Seed Varieties and rates, pasture mix( some may not want fescue included) Must be green and growing.
            Trench Washouts, Water Piping, and Blow Out Repair
            Fence Repair or Replacement, gates, cattle guards

Mowing every other year (non-cropland areas)

Termination & Abandonment

Abandonment Clause 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Turkey Vulture Program

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OHIO – Dr. Scott Pendleton, area veterinarian and birding enthusiast, will present a program about turkey vultures (buzzards) at 7:30 PM at the November 6 meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA).

ECOFA is an organization of persons interested in improving their woodlands and in forestry-related topics.   The public is cordially invited to attend the free meetings which are held monthly at McDonald-Marlite Lewis Conference Center, 143 McDonald Drive NW in New Philadelphia.

OSU Workshops to Promote Cover Crops to Promote Soil Health, Water Quality & Yields

Jim Hoorman, an Ohio State University Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues, will hold a  workshop, “Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health,” on Nov. 14 and Dec.10, 2013 and on Jan. 14, 2014. The workshop will offer growers an advanced, marathon session on cover crops, with the opportunity to work hands-on with soils and seeds and learn about specific cover crops, such as the fact that legume cover crops protect the soil from erosion but also produce nitrogen for crop production, Hoorman said. 

The registration cost for each workshop is $30 and includes lunch, handouts, fact sheets and a new Cover Crop Field Guide. 
The workshops are: 
Nov 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mercer County office of OSU Extension, 220 W. Livingston St. in Celina; 
Dec10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Putnam County office of OSU Extension, 1206 E. Second Street, Ottawa; 
Jan 14, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Erie County, with the location to be determined. 

For more information or to register, contact Hoorman at 419-523-6294 or by email at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Different cover crops yield different benefits

All cover crops are not created equally. That’s both the beauty and the challenge of coming up with the right mix for each farm.
Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor and Extension educator for Ohio State University, says each cover crop has a special purpose – with specific benefits. Hoorman says legume cover crops, are typically used to produce homegrown nitrogen. Grass cover crops are used to increase soil organic matter, recycle excess nutrients, and reduce soil compaction. Brassica covers are grown to loosen the soil, recycle nutrients and suppress weeds and plant pathogens.
Other covers can be grown to suppress harmful insects or attract beneficial insects. Some cover crops may attract insect pests or become hard to kill, while others require little management.
There are hundreds of crop rotations to consider with cover crops, Hoorman says, so there’s quite a lot of thinking to do when you introduce cover crops into your operation. For conventional tillers who want to begin a no-till program simultaneously with a cover crop, Hoorman suggests two cover crop rotations to consider:
1. Wheat, sorghum sudangrass, early maturing soybeans, winter pea or crimson clover with oilseed
radish, corn, cereal rye, soybeans, back to wheat.
2. Corn, cereal rye, early maturing soybeans, brassica (oilseed radish) plus legume (crimson clover
or winter pea).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Guernsey SWCD Annual Meeting and Election

Jason Tyrell, GSWCD Technician; Josh Henderson, Farm Credit; Bill Kahrig, representing Green Valley; Joe Lehman, NRCS Soil Technician and formerly with GSWCD; and Travis Smith, GSWCD Wildlife/Forestry Specialist.

On Tuesday, October 29th the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District held its 71st annual meeting banquet and election.  The meeting was held at the Cassell Station VFD, and catered by Smokin’ C BBQ.  Steve Douglass was re-elected to the board, and will serve a three-year term beginning January 2014 on the board which provides direction, oversight, and fiscal accountability to the Soil and Water Conservation District.  Board members serve on a volunteer basis.  Current board members include Bill Bertram, Ken Ford, John Enos, Myron Dellinger and Steve Douglass.
Technician Jason Tyrell explains the district's ag programs.
During the annual meeting, the Conservationist of the Year award was presented to Green Valley Co-op.  The Guernsey SWCD partners with Farm Credit, and USDA-NRCS to recognize co-operators who have shown a commitment to conservation of natural resources.  Green Valley, represented by Bill Kahrig, was presented with a sign, provided by Farm Credit Services.    

Green Valley’s manager, Doug Kahrig, worked closely with the district on their recent cover crop program; sourcing seed mixes, promoting the program to their customers, and providing equipment and staff to help load the planes that flew the seed onto over 900 acres of Guernsey county farm ground.  Without his help, the program would never have "gotten off the ground".
Wildlife/Forestry Specialist Travis Smith introduces himself to the audience

The Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is a political sub-division of the State of Ohio and covers the entire county.  Soil and water conservation districts were first formed in the 1940's when concerns of soil erosion and the loss of our most productive soils became apparent after the Great Dust Bowl.  Local citizens gathered together to form the conservation districts to educate and provide assistance to landowners in order to reduce soil erosion to tolerable limits.  Conservation Practices such as contour strips, no-till crops, and grassed waterways have had a great impact on reducing soil erosion.

Over the years conservation districts have evolved to include issues around land use, water quality, forestry and wildlife.  They work with landowners, land users, other governmental agencies, and elected officials to solve natural resource concerns.  Your conservation district can be a wealth of information.  The mission of the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote through education and technical assistance the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Many considerations ‘in the mix’ when choosing cover crops, expert says

There are a lot of things for farmers to consider when deciding how to mix that perfect cocktail – ah, of cover crops.
“Seed availability, cost, seeding methods, ability to terminate the plants and other factors enter into the number of species a farmer might use,” says David Lamm of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“Some studies suggest six to eight species from three of the four groups would be about right,” Lamm says. “Our NRCS plant materials centers are conducting a three-year study to look at this.”
Lamm says location dictates the amount of growing season available, so it should be considered when selecting varieties of cover crops.
There are a number of common mixes being recommended depending on the location in the country. For the northern Corn Belt, Lamm says a common mix is cereal rye, hairy vetch, winter peas and daikon radish. In the south and southeastern U.S., a common mix is cereal rye, hairy vetch, crimson clover, and daikon radish.
“But producers shouldn’t limit themselves to these mixes,” Lamm says. “They should continue to experiment to see what might work best on their farms.” He suggests interested farmers talk with farmers who have long-term experience, too.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cambridge Middle School soils class

 Technician Jason Tyrell teaching a class on soil types for the Cambridge City middle school classes today. He showed the students how you can judge the percent of soil particles - clay,silt, or sand - in a particular sample by wetting and feeling the texture of the soil ribbon.
Jason showing the class how different soil types stay in suspension or precipitate out of water.   Sand will do so the fastest, then silt, and clay can take days to precipitate out of suspension.  This is one of the reasons that Wills Creek looks so muddy, as Guernsey county soils contain a high percentage of clay particles.

He also took copies of the Guernsey County Soil Survey, and showed the kids how to read the maps, and what the codes mean.   They liked this part of the class the best.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Expert urges farmers to ask—and answer—five questions before cover cropping

Joel Gruver is Western Illinois University’s go-to cover crop guy. He has worked with many farmers who are using cover crops, and he has tested cover crops on University plots. He understands that farmers considering soil health-building cover crops should go in with eyes wide open.

As a result, Gruver has a long list of questions a farmer should ask—and answer—before the first cover crops are planted. Five of the most important questions are:
1. What equipment is available (owned, available for rent or custom hire) to seed cover crops in my area?
2. What windows of opportunity exist as defined by weather and climate, current cropping practices, cover crop genetics—and can current windows be expanded by acceptable adjustments like shorter season crops or alternative cover crops?
3. How will I terminate the cover crop and achieve an acceptable stand of the next crop?
4. Will I have the time and labor to make this work?
5. What’s my contingency plan—and risks—if the cover crop doesn’t establish or doesn’t die on schedule?
“Cover crop management today isn’t just a revisiting of old practices abandoned by the fathers and grandfathers of today’s farmers,” he says. “Innovative large-scale grain farmers have started integrating cover crops into their production systems in ways that were never even considered before.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

Conservation Group To Complete $400k Study on Cover Crops

An Indiana non-profit focused on agricultural conservation practices will be charged with examining the economic, agronomic and environmental impacts of cover crops in a forthcoming study funded by a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant.
The study, to be prepared by the Conservation Technology Information Center, will also look at the contributions of cover crop practices to pollinator habitat, nutrient cycling, and soil health.
CTIC received $482,000 to complete the study with the help of experienced and novice cover crop users in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and South Dakota.
Read rest of article HERE

Friday, October 18, 2013

Saving Sheep Buried By Blizzard

When the blizzard that dumped 24-48 inches of snow across the Black Hills and western South Dakota ended, my parents -- Tom and Karen Seaman, of Newell, S.D. -- loaded up their snowmobile and 4-wheeler and headed out to Castle Rock where they had 800 lambs and ewes on summer pasture.

Read rest of story HERE

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Board of Supervisors Election and Annual Meeting

On Tuesday October 29th, the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District will be holding their 71th annual meeting and banquet.  Every year the GSWCD holds an annual meeting for the purpose of electing members to the five member board that comprises the board of supervisors for the district.  This year there will be one member elected to a three-year term.

The mission of the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote through education and technical assistance the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.  The traditional perception of the Soil and Water Conservation District has been one of working primarily with the agricultural community.  The district does work on natural resource issue with local agriculture but in addition to that it is a considerable resource to all landowners and land users in Guernsey County.

This year's slate of candidates for election to the district board of supervisors include; Steve Douglass and Bob Sherby.  The candidate with the most votes will be elected to a three-year term.  The official election will begin at 6:00 pm Tuesday, October 29th at the Cassell Station VFD, 4500 Peters Creek Rd, Cambridge, Ohio.  Voting may be done from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. 

The banquet will be served at 7:00pm, with a brief program following the meal. The meal is catered by Smokin’ C BBQ.  Tickets for the banquet are $10, and can be purchased from any current board member, or from the SWCD office.  If you are unable to attend the day of the election, absentee ballots are available at the district office located at 9711 East Pike, Cambridge, Ohio until 4:00pm October 29th.  Eligible voters are all 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.  Consider participating in this important process.  For additional information you may contact the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District office at (740) 432-5624.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

‘Home-grown innovation’ needed for wide-spread cover crop use

Before World War II, most farmers included forage legumes like alfalfa and red clover in crop rotations ahead of nitrogen-demanding crops like corn. Forage grasses and small grains were also commonly used to curb soil erosion.
But according to Joel Gruver, a cover crop expert at Western Illinois University, cover crops fell out of favor during the rise of mechanized agriculture in the 1950s and 1960s—and increased again in the 1970’s due to growing public concern about the environment combined with spikes in input costs.
Today, farmers are recognizing that cover crops, used in combination with no-till and diverse crop rotations, can significantly improve the health of their soil—and with it, the productivity and profitability of their farms.

“Modern agriculture’s cover crop pioneers have figured out how to make them work on their farms, with some impressive results,” Gruver says. “It’s going to take home-grown innovation by farmers who haven’t used cover crops to really ramp up their use. I say that because everyone’s situation is different; cover crops aren’t an ‘off the shelf ’ practice that can be done the same way on every farm.”
While the basic principles of cover crops may stay the same, Gruver says the best genetics, establishment, and termination methods for individual farms can vary widely with respect to objectives, location, weather conditions, crop, soil types, and more.
“Fortunately, many of the farmers trying cover crops now are experienced no-tillers or strip-tillers who have a track record of doing the type of trouble shooting necessary to make cover crops work consistently,” Gruver says.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

OSU Extension offers guidance for reseeding pasture in pipeline rights-of-way

CALDWELL, Ohio - Farmers who are negotiating easements across their property for shale oil and gas pipelines might want to include a clause about when the company should reseed their pastures because reseeding at the wrong time of year often results in failure, a forage expert with Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences says.

Read rest of article   HERE

Friday, October 11, 2013

Aquaponics combines fish and crops for a productive retirement

There is something fishy about a guy who doesn’t golf or watch television, at least in the case of Doug Blackburn. With those two traditional staples of retirement time use not an option, Doug set to work a few years ago to find a way to pass the time as he approached his departure from the work force..

Read rest of article   HERE

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ethanol plant to reopen Oct. 15

COSHOCTON — Three Rivers Energy is looking to hum to life in a week’s time.

President Jim Galvin said the ethanol production facility is set to restart operations Oct. 15. He said 40 workers have been hired and are on site now preparing to begin production. Job training, machinery preparation and receiving of raw materials are wrapping up now.

Read rest of article HERE

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cover crops key in preventing yield losses when converting to no-till

Most farmers with experience in improving soil health have converted from conventional tillage to no-till farming, then over time, added cover crops into their farm operations.
But many farmers have experienced yield drops, at least in corn, in the transition years to no-till. However, that doesn’t have to be the case, and there’s no need to master no-till before you use cover crops with no-till, says Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor and Extension educator for Ohio State University.
“No-till corn yields typically lag conventionally tilled fields by as much as 10 to 15 percent for five to seven years until the microbial populations recover in the soil,” Hoorman says. “That’s because in the transition years, as microbes increase in numbers and build organic matter and humus, the corn crop has competition for nitrogen—microbes take up nitrogen faster than plants, so if nitrogen is limiting, the crop will suffer.”
But farmers can shorten – or eliminate – a yield drop in the short term while you’re on your way to increasing yields long term by using cover crops from the start with no-till, he says.
 “The literature says there are 1,000 to 2,000 times more microbes associated with living roots than in soil without live roots,” Hoorman says. “If you want to build soil, you need to leave it undisturbed and keep it covered with living plants as much of the time as practical.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

ODNR Urges Caution When Burning Debris

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohioans should be aware of the outdoor burning regulations and take necessary precautions if they plan to burn debris, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“We want to encourage people to be safe and responsible when conducting outdoor burns this season,” said Robert Boyles, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “While Ohio does not typically encounter large fires like those in the Western states, when people are not careful with their outdoor burns they can create the potential for loss of property or life.”

Ohio law states outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. during October and November. Burning is limited in the fall due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground from dried grasses, weeds and autumn leaves. Winds can make a seemingly safe fire become quite hazardous. Violators of Ohio’s burning regulations are subject to citations and fines. Residents should also check Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations and consult with local fire department officials about burning conditions and safety considerations.

If a fire does escape control, immediately contact the local fire department. An escaped wildfire, even one burning in grass or weeds, is dangerous.

The ODNR Division of Forestry offers these safety tips for burning debris outdoors:

  • Consider using a 55-gallon drum with a weighted screen lid to provide an enclosed incinerator.
  • Know current and future weather conditions and do not leave debris burning unattended. Keep suppression tools such as a charged water hose, shovel and a rake close by while burning debris.
  • Be informed about state and local burning regulations. Homeowners living within incorporated limits should check with their fire department for local ordinances. Most incorporated areas do not allow open debris burning due to the close proximity of homes and businesses.
  • Visit and for more information and tips on protecting a home and community.

Remember, Smokey Bear says, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ag Feels Immediate Impact of Shutdown

There was certainly no shortage of negative reaction Tuesday morning as Americans – and ag stakeholders – awoke to news that legislators had failed to reach a budget agreement that would fund government activities for the next fiscal year.
Many in the ag industry consider the latest impasse just part of a "double whammy" of sorts, comprising a second government foible following continuing, yet rather messy farm bill negotiations.

Read rest of story HERE

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Paul Bunyan Show starts Friday

Here is the schedule for the Paul Bunyan Show, which is here in Guernsey county at the fairgrounds on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

"The Original American Forestry Show"
October 4-6, 2013
8 am - 6 pm Friday and Saturday • 9 am - 3 pm Sunday

Guernsey County Fairgrounds
335 Old National Road
Old Washington (Cambridge), OH 43768

Admission Prices:
$8 - Adults • $4 - Seniors (60 and over) & Kids (12-7)
Children 6 & Under Free

No pets allowed! There will be forestry equipment running live throughout the grounds and it is a very loud and scary place for pets! Please leave your pet at home!
No unauthorized vehicles, ATV's or personal golf carts allowed on Show grounds. Scooters will be available for rent $30 per day at the Show. First come, first served.

Preventing, treating deer damage

Bucks can’t resist sapling trees and will shred them as part of their mating ritual during the fall rut season starting in mid-September.
Known as “buck rubs,” this wanton damage to young trees and shrubs can be prevented very easily.
Shredded trees can be treated to prevent permanent damage, but earlier preventive measures are well worth the trouble. Here’s how to do both.

Read rest of article HERE

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

High-risk host trees coming down at East Fork

Officials with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced plans to begin high-risk host tree removals in the East Fork Wildlife Area Sept. 16 as part of the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication program.

Read rest of article HERE 

Monday, September 30, 2013

About Moore Memorial Woods

The land was donated to the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District in 1955 by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Wallace as a living tribute to her father Major James W. Moore, a Civil War Veteran. It is located near Old Washington in Wills Twp approximately 12 miles east of Cambridge.

Moore Woods is typical of the second growth mixed oak forests in SE Ohio. Red, white and chestnut oaks are the primary species found along ridgetops and sideslopes. Walnut, poplar, hickory and other hardwood species can be found in the lower areas. Many varieties of shrubs, ferns and wildflowers grow throughout the tract. The topography ranges from flat along ridgetops and narrow valleys to very steep on sideslopes. Two small streams dissect the woods, and several vernal pools form in the spring. Species of wildlife include deer, grouse, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, songbirds, and other small mammals.

The 78-acre tract of land, which is almost entirely forested, is being maintained as a laboratory for environmental education. This is an excellent place to study forestry, soil conservation, biology, and wildlife management. There is no fee for use of the facility, and the SWCD office has staff members with expertise in these subjects. There are workshops on various subjects offered throughout the year to adults and school aged children.

It is the belief of the District that to study nature the setting should be as close to the natural conditions as possible. Development at Moore Woods has been done with this basic theme in mind. An old township road divides the area, and there are over a mile of hiking trails. A parking area large enough for buses is available at the entrance. There is a pavilion and pit type restroom on site.

Friday, September 27, 2013

For maximum benefit, mix it up, cover crop expert recommends

There’s a reason most farmers who start with single species cover crops eventually move to mixes.
“Some of the most innovative cover crop users have continued to experiment with as many as 8 - 15 different cover crops in mixtures on their farms, to see what each contributes to their system,” says David Lamm of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “These farmers are breathing new life into their soils, with no-till and cover crop mixes, and they’re telling us they’re getting all kinds of benefits.
A universal result is increased nutrient cycling, and in many cases a reduction in supplemental fertility is achievable.” Lamm, the leader for the NRCS National Soil Health and Sustainability Team in Greensboro, North Carolina, points to three of the top advantages to using mixtures:

1. No one species can deliver all the advantages multiple cover crops deliver in combination. Some fix nitrogen, some are very good at scavenging leftover nitrogen in the soil, and some have deep roots that extend benefits deeper into the soil profile. Still others help control specific weeds or attract beneficial insects, etc.

2. Each plant species offers a different chemical signature to the soil through the rhizosphere, which provides a different food source for bacteria and fungi in the soil. More variety in the food source creates the
habitat for a greater variety of soil organisms—most of which have a positive impact within the soil.

3. Organic matter production is put on the fast track. A diversity of plants above ground creates underground habitat with a healthy balance of predator and prey organisms in the soil. The balance results in
improved nutrient cycling. “We need to think about the organisms in the soil that cycle nutrients,” Lamm says. “Adding a diversity of roots to a soil that has seen only monoculture crops can awaken and ignite those organisms.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

More than pests, stink bugs damage Ohio crops

Up until this year, the stink bug was described as just a nuisance in Ohio. Now, the stinky pest is starting to cause agricultural damage.
Gene Kritsky, an entomologist and professor of biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph, said this is the first year the stink bug has officially been documented as causing problems to corn and soybeans in Ohio.
Read rest if article HERE

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No-till, cover crops go hand-in-hand to build healthy soils, expert says

Even after 30 years of no-till and cover crop experience, Dwayne Beck, manager of South Dakota State
University’s Dakota Lakes Research Farm near Pierre, South Dakota says there’s still much to learn about
mimicking nature. But he says the critical first step is to realize that the soil is living and part of a larger

“The diverse plants of the prairies cycled carbon back to the soil, and that slow, steady return of carbon to the soil boosted soil organic matter which continuously fed billions of microbes,” Beck says. “Those microbes, in turn, broke down organic matter, making nutrients available to plants. This cycle produced the high levels of active organic matter in virgin prairie soils that accounted for the astounding yields sodbusters enjoyed in past generations.”

“In tillage-based systems, mineralization is ‘boom and bust.’ Booms occur after tillage with busts following
shortly after. In contrast, mineralization in no-till soils is more evenly spread over the season,” Beck says.
Taken together with intensive rotation, no-till becomes a comprehensive program—there’s no need to fall back on occasional tillage, Beck says. “And you don’t want to till occasionally, because one year of tillage destroys that environment for microorganisms you’ve been building for years.”

“Once you realize the soil is living, it makes sense that the living organisms in the soil need a balanced diet, just as your livestock [need a balanced diet],” Beck says. “You can’t provide that diet with a continuous crop. That’s where cover crops and crop rotations come in; they’re needed to give that variety of food to the soil,” he says.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OEPA announces grants

Ohio Environmental Protection -- Communities, local governments and businesses can now submit applications for various grants to support recycling programs and litter prevention efforts, OEPA officials said this week.   The agency will host an informational meeting on the 2014 grant application process Oct. 3 at the Department of Transportation auditorium.  Entities can apply for: the Community Grant, the Litter Cleanup and Tire Amnesty Grant, the Market Development Grant and the Scrap Tire Grant.  Applications should outline the project's parameters, budget and sustainability, as well as how the applicant will comply with matching fund requirements. They are due Feb. 3 and will be announced in May 2014, with funding available in July 2014.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Local Work Group Meeting Set

The Guernsey SWCD will conduct a Local Workgroup (LWG) meeting on Tuesday, October 24th at 9AM to identify resource concerns, discuss conservation priorities, and develop potential solutions. The meeting will take place at the SWCD office at 9711 East Pike, Cambridge.

While Local Work Group membership is limited to Federal, State, county, tribal, or local government representatives who are familiar with agriculture and natural resources interests, the meeting is open to the general public, who is invited to participate and provide input on local conservation issues and resource challenges. LWGs support locally led conservation efforts by coordinating USDA programs with other conservation programs in an effort to provide an integrated solution to addressing natural resource concerns.

For more information, contact the Guernsey SWCD office at (740)432-5624.

When it comes to water, cover crops give more than they take, expert says

It’s a fair question. Why would farmers want to plant a cover crop that uses up water? But David Lamm, a soil health expert with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, says it’s what those cover crops give – not what they take – that’s the secret.

 “By using diverse annual cropping rotations and cover crop combinations increase soil organic matter. And for each 1 percent in organic matter, there is a 25 percent increase in water holding capacity and up to 30 pounds an acre more of available nitrogen,” he said.

In a recent survey by the Conservation Technology Information Center, 600 farmers affected by the drought
of 2012 reported an average increase of 14 bushels of corn per acre and five bushels more of soybeans per acre where they had a cover crop as compared to none.
Lamm said that while it’s true cover crops use some water in the soil profile to grow, they simultaneously
improve the soil structure by building soil aggregates, providing armor for the soil surface, and recharging the
water in the soil profile though increased infiltration.

“By using cover crops, no-till and crop rotations, farmers are finding that their soil actually has more available water for their cash crops when those crops really need it,” he said. “So those covers actually help protect farms against weather extremes like drought.”