Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guernsey SWCD 70th Annual Meeting and Election

On Tuesday, October 23rd the district held its 70th annual meeting banquet and election.  Bill Bertram was re-elected to the board, and Myron Dellinger was elected for his first term.  The two men will serve a three-year term beginning January 2012 on our board which provides direction, oversight, and fiscal accountability to the staff.
During the annual meeting, the Conservationist of the Year award was presented to Randy Raber of Red Hill Farm. Randy is always conservation minded, working with the district to install extensive amounts of fence, pipelines, and watering facilities in order to rotationally graze pastures.  He does crop rotation and is moving toward utilizing cover crops to protect and improve soils.  Randy has also helped the district in educational programs, and has made one of his farms available for the district’s elected officials tour, which helped showcase the district’s accomplishments in the county.   

Guest Speaker for the evening was Dave Adair of the Guernsey Scenic Railway.  Dave regaled the crowd with stories of coal mining in the early 1900s right here in Guernsey county.  They listened in rapt attention as he described the working conditions in the mines, and how men toiled in the dangerous, dark, and damp conditions to remove coal from the seam deep in the earth and bring it to the surface to be used to heat homes and provide power for electricity. 
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.  

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