Friday, October 31, 2014

Guernsey SWCD Annual Meeting

 On Wednesday, October 29th the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District held its 72nd annual meeting banquet and election.  The meeting was held at Mr Lee’s Restaurant .  John Enos and Ken Ford were 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.

During the annual meeting, the Conservationist of the Year award was presented to Ed Bay.  The Guernsey SWCD partners with Farm Credit, and USDA-NRCS to recognize co-operators who have shown a commitment to conservation of natural resources.  Mr. Bay was presented with a sign, provided by Farm Credit Services.    

The Bay family has a long history of conservation, beginning with Ed’s father, David, who served on the SWCD board for 27 years, from 1958 to 1984. In 1985, Dave Bay won the Goodyear Award, the forerunner of the current Conservationist of the Year award.  Working with the SWCD, the Bays had installed a pond to supply water to the barn for livestock, build an animal waste storage facility, and developed springs for livestock water sources. The Bays were the first in the area to use no till to plant corn. 

Following in his father’s footsteps, Ed has done a great deal to assist in the district’s work; hosting soil judging contests for regional FFA classes twice in the past 10 years, demonstrating non-lethal wildlife damage control by using propane cannons to protect his crops, and offering his alfalfa fields to test the effectiveness of different types of repellants to deter deer from damaging his hayfields by over browsing.  Most recently, he has been involved in our cover crop program, and was instrumental this year in encouraging 2 more new landowners to plant cover crops to protect and enrich the soils in their crop fields. 

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. 

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