Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cover Crops for Gardeners program a big success!

Last week during the Guernsey county fair, we hosted a program on cover crops for gardeners. Over 20 people attended the program, including representatives from the Cambridge Community Gardens. Anne Brandt from Walnut Creek Seeds spoke on soil health and why cover crops are so important to the productivity of the vegetable garden. Walnut Creek was generous to donate enough seed to plant cover crops on both of the community gardens this fall after the harvest is over.
During the presentation, attendees munched on some delicious fresh vegetable dishes whipped up by the Guernsey Master Gardeners. Master Gardener Dianne Bruner also gave a talk on how to do straw bale gardening. We still have the bale outside our front doors here at the office and have been enjoying tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce harvested from the bale. What fun!

Green Bean, Grape & Pasta Toss
1 c chopped pecans
8 bacon slices
1# thin fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 8oz pkg penne pasta, prepared according to directions
1 c mayonnaise
1/3 c sugar (or honey)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 c seedless red grapes, cut in half
1/3 c diced red onion

Fry bacon until crisp, drain and crumble.
Blanche green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and plunge into ice water to cool.
Wisk together mayo, sugar, salt and vinegar, then add other ingredients, toss to coat and chill for 3 hours.

Mexican Street Corn Salad
 3-4 cups fresh corn, cut from cob
2 T olive oil
3 T mayonnaise
4 oz Cotija cheese (or feta)
2 T lime juice
1 T jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 T red onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat.  Add corn and let cook until corn starts to brown, stirring occasionally.  While the corn is cooking, mix together other ingredients in a large bowl.  When corn is done, fold into dressing, and serve 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Minnesota Brothers Make History at 2015 Federal Duck Stamp Contest

A trio of brothers from Minnesota made history today as they took the top three spots in the 2015 Federal Duck Stamp art contest. The announcement was made by Jerome Ford, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Assistant Director for Migratory Birds, at the annual art contest, held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.V.
Joseph Hautman, of Plymouth, Minn., won the contest with his acrylic painting of a pair of trumpeter swans.  This is Hautman’s fifth Federal Duck Stamp contest win, making him one of only two artists to have his art appear on five duck stamps.
Hautman’s painting will be made into the 2016-2017 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or Duck Stamp, which will go on sale in late June 2016.  The Service produces the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $25 and raises about $25 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people.
Robert Hautman of Delano, Minn., placed second with his acrylic painting of a pair of mallards.  Robert Hautman has won the Federal Duck Stamp contest twice.
James Hautman of Chaska, Minn., took third place with his acrylic painting of a pair of mallards.  He is a four-time winner of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.
Among them, the Hautmans have won 11 Federal Duck Stamp contests.
Of 157 entries in this year’s competition, 10 entries made it to the final round of judging today.  Eligible species for this year’s Federal Duck Stamp Contest were the blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal, gadwall, mallard and trumpeter swan.
"I congratulate Joseph Hautman on his win and the entire Hautman family on their artistic talent,” said Ford.  “This is not just any piece of art, but one whose impact will be felt for generations to come.  Duck Stamps have helped to protect more than six-and-a-half million acres of waterfowl habitat in our National Wildlife Refuge System; now that is a lasting legacy.”
“Buying Federal Duck Stamps remains the simplest way to make a difference in conserving our nation’s birds and their habitats,” said Ford.  “For more than 80 years, hunters, bird watchers and millions of people who simply care about the environment have ‘put their stamp on conservation’ with their Duck Stamp purchases.”
The judges for this year’s Federal Duck Stamp Contest were: Deb Hahn, international relations director for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Donald Messersmith, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, who taught courses in entomology, ornithology and environmental education; James O’Donnell, museum specialist in the Collections Department of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum; Constance Sanchez, director of the Important Bird Areas Program with the National Audubon Society; and Jonathan Alderfer, an artist and author who is the birding consultant for National Geographic Books.
Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Federal Duck Stamp. Conservationists, stamp collectors and others may purchase the stamp in support of habitat conservation.  A current Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.
Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from sale of the Federal Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the purchase of migratory bird habitat for inclusion into the National Wildlife Refuge System. You can contribute to conservation by buying Federal Duck Stamps at many national wildlife refuges, sporting goods stores and other retailers, through the U.S. Postal Service, or online at http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.
Electronic files of the winning artwork can be downloaded from www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php.  A gallery of all 2015 Federal Duck Stamp Contest entries is at: https://flic.kr/s/aHskjmTyTn.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Senator Balderson

Wildlife Specialist Levi Arnold, smoozing our state senator, Troy Balderson. Senator Balderson is a staunch supporter of the SWCD family and our conservation efforts.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Candidates for Guernsey SWCD board sought

A Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor is.....
A respected community leader, elected by county residents to represent them in charting the course for local soil and water conservation and natural resource management.
District Boards of Supervisors guide the district, its staff, and cooperating agencies in efforts to implement a conservation program in the county that addresses management and conservation of soil, water, and related resources.  Supervisors should have a sincere interest in conservation, and must have the enthusiasm, dedication, and time to serve expected of an elected official.  
District supervisors are elected to a three-year term of office and serve without pay.  Necessary expenses, e.g. travel to meetings, are covered by the SWCD.
Districts are protected from liability by a state law passed in 1988 which indemnifies all SWCD supervisors from personal liability in any civil actions arising from his/her involvement with the SWCD.

.….interested in running for the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District Board?
Any resident 18 years of age or older who resides within the county of the election can seek election to the SWCD board of supervisors.
Interested individuals may stop by the office at 335C Old National Rd, Old Washington, Ohio, or call 740-489-5276 to request a nomination petition form.  Potential candidates need to secure at least 10 signatures from residents or property owners in Guernsey County and submit the petition to the district by the close of business day, Tuesday, September 23rd.   Candidates meeting the eligibility requirements and deadline will be listed on the ballot for the special election, which will take place on October 28th at the Mr. Lee’s restaurant in Cambridge.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

FREE Cover Crops for Gardeners

On Wednesday, September 16th during the Guernsey County fair, the Soil & Water office will host a free educational program on cover crops for gardeners.  Anne Brandt from Walnut Creek Seeds in Carroll, OH will tell how to put your garden to bed for the season and explain all the benefits to using cover crops to do this.
There will also be a demonstration on straw bale gardening by the Master Gardeners.
And the best part?  FREE FOOD!   Come sample the bounty of Guernsey county gardens.  The Master Gardeners will turn master chefs to tempt you with yummy dishes straight from the garden.
The program is Wednesday morning  at the new Soil & Water office, which is at the top of the hill on the left as you come in the main gates of the fairgrounds.  The program begins at 10:30AM.   There will be door prizes.  Come join us, and take a moment to sit down in the air conditioning, sample some veggie dishes, and get a cool drink of water while you learn how to improve your soil for gardening.

For more information, call the Soil & Water Conservation District at 740-489-5276 or drop by our office on the fairgrounds at 335C Old National Rd, Old Washington.     www.guernseyswcd.org

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don't touch this guy!

Have you seen this white colored "woolly worm" in your neighborhood or out at a park? Well this one cannot foretell the winter we will have... In fact, it really isn't even an actually "woolly worm"! It is a hickory tussock moth caterpillar and it is venomous!

The hickory tussock moth begins its life as a white caterpillar. It is not a fully white caterpillar, however, as it has an attractive design of black tufts along the middle of the back, with black spots down the sides of its body and a black head.

The hairs on the caterpillar are long and bristle-like and spread out in tufts down the sides. Two long, sharp, black pencil-like hairs protrude near the front and rear of the creature, and these hairs are connected to poison glands, which excrete venom on contact.

Contact with the venom does not generally cause too much of a problem. A nettle or poison ivy-type rash often occurs, which can range from mild with slight reddening of the skin, to burning, swelling and pain, none of which should keep you away from your gardening duties for too long. Hypersensitive individuals may, of course, experience more severe symptoms that could include swelling and nausea. Washing the affected area with soap and water, taking antihistamines, or using ammonia, calamine lotion, or an ice pack can help to alleviate most minor symptoms fairly quickly. People who do experience more severe reactions, however, should seek expert medical advice as soon as possible.

The hickory tussock moth caterpillar can be found in southern Canada, South to North Carolina and Ohio in North America. The eggs are laid in large groups on the underside of leaves, and the caterpillars are commonly seen from around June to September. Hickory moth caterpillars, like most caterpillars, have rather insatiable appetites, and can grow to around 1.5 inches in length. They are very partial to nut trees, such as pecan, hickory and walnut, but will also eat a variety of other things, such as ash, oak, willow, apple, elm, raspberry, corn leaves, vegetable plants and various shrubs.

Stressing Collaboration And Education, Healthy Water Ohio Coalition Releases State-Wide Strategic Plan

A $100 million a year bond ballot issue and a $250 million annually funded trust fund are two key aspects of a strategic plan unveiled by Healthy Water Ohio.  During a conference call with reporters, members of the group's steering committee released the 36-page water management plan two years in the making.  Launched in 2013, the wide-ranging coalition was convened to develop a long-term water management strategy to shore up Ohio's aquatic tourism, strengthen the agricultural industry, and address other state-wide water-related concerns.  "This report will be a roadmap for assuring that our water and food production resources are preserved and strengthened," said Steve Hirsch of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.  In crafting the plan, the group fielded input from more than 200 people.
The plan is broken down into five key subject areas including research, policy and jurisdiction, infrastructure, funding, and education and awareness. Some of the measure the coalition will push for moving forward include:

  • Establishing a formal research group and improving the coordination between water-related researchers
  • Leveraging existing watershed districts to facilitate collaboration, providing indemnity for farmers and industries that voluntarily participate in research, and improving coordination among state agencies
  • Conducting a needs assessment of water-related infrastructure
  • Establishing the Ohio Water Trust and launching a state bond initiative to protect water resources
  • Boosting efforts to educate government officials, Ohio students and the general public

Josh Knights, executive director of the Nature Conservancy in Ohio, said the group tried not to limit its brainstorming by cost constraints.  "We really wanted to start with the substance before we moved on to how were we going to accomplish that and how to pay for it," he said.  The proposed Ohio Water Trust would be overseen by a board of stakeholders which would vet projects to improve water quality, reduce stormwater and other flooding, and accomplish other water-related goals.  Funding for the trust isn't yet finalized, but the group said support from water quality trades, agriculture and business sectors, government bond sales, water user fees, portions of boating and fishing license fees, and philanthropic contributions are all potential funding sources.  The proposed bond issue should generate $100 million annually to fund water-related projects, according to the group. Those funds would then be administered by the trust.  The proposed bond program appears similar to the existing Clean Ohio Fund, a $400 million conservation program renewed by voters in 2008. Mr. Knights said the group's proposed bond issue could be modeled after that existing program, but that it would be a more targeted approach.  "(With) the Clean Ohio Fund the purposes are multiple and they're not specifically addressed to water quality issues," he said. "So we feel that to really tackle the issue and make an impact we'd need to have something ... that would be specifically targeted to the water quality issue."

The plan's rollout comes two days after Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni introduced his own proposed bond issue. That measure (SJR 3) would create a ballot issue authorization annual general obligation bonds of up to $100 million a year for water infrastructure improvements or maintenance.

Mr. Knights said the group has yet to examine the joint resolution in detail, but called it "a very positive development."  "We're aware of it and we welcome it," he said. "I think it's exciting the General Assembly is starting to think along those lines and we'd very much like to have the opportunity to sit down and learn a little bit more about their envisioning and how what we're rec with health waters Ohio might overlap with that."  The group is looking to create the water trust by 2016 as phase one of its efforts. Phase two will take place between 2017-2020, during which the group will implement priority initiatives. Phase three, beginning in 2021, will include continued improvement of existing processes and measurement of the plan's return on investment.

State Tax Revenues Come In Much As Expected In August

State tax receipts last month closely matched estimates generated for the current biennial budget period and kept state coffers on track for Fiscal Year 2016.  And despite a raft of tax cuts included in the budget measure (HB 64*), the $1.881 billion in total tax receipts collected in August was almost $222 million, or 13.4%, better than August 2014, according to preliminary revenue charts distributed Friday by the Office of Budget and Management.  Compared to budget planning estimates, the August tax receipts were ahead of schedule by 0.3%, the budget agency reported. The year-to-date difference is 0.4% to the good.  The strongest performances last month came in the two main tax categories.  The $849 million in total sales taxes was almost $36 million, or 4.4%, better than anticipated, OBM reported. The $628 million in personal income tax receipts beat estimates by $16 million or 2.6%.  Those overages were offset mostly by underperformance in the commercial activity tax and tobacco tax categories, both of which lagged projections by about $24 million.  Compared to August of 2014, the PIT intake was better by $54.2 million (9.5%), and the commercial activity tax by $64.75 million (36.5%)  according to state data.  Thanks largely to the August differentials, total tax receipts after the first two months of FY 2016, at $3.55 billion, stand at $306 million, or 9.4%, ahead of the same FY 2015 period.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The new Brillion seeder has arrived!

Add caption
J D Equipment(Zanesville) just delivered the NEW Brillion seeder!   Its available to rent now.  Calll Jason to schedule its use.  740-489-5276

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bee Buffer Strip Initiative needs 100 Ohio farmers

The U.S. Bee Buffer Project, an initiative of the Pollinator Partnership (P2), Burt’s Bees and The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, is immediately seeking 100 Ohio farmers, ranchers and orchardists to set aside small plots of land as bee buffer zones. Once established, the nectar-rich honey bee forage will support pollinator- dependent crops, which represents one-third of the food we eat.
Read rest of article HERE

Make application to the program HERE