Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Kaye Clay has accepted an Administrative Assistant position with the Guernsey County Soil & Water Conservation District.  Clay brings to the job a strong financial background, along with knowledge of SWCD practices and programming.

Clay lives on the family farm overlooking Piedmont Lake and is a strong proponent of being good stewards of the land to benefit future generations.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Threat of the toxic algal blooms

Threat of the toxic algal blooms

By the Beacon Journal editorial board 

Published: March 22, 2016 - 06:29 PM

As managers of Barberton’s water system recently discovered, the threat of toxic algal blooms is not confined to the Toledo area. There, massive blooms in Lake Erie two years ago threatened the health of nearly 500,000 people when the water supply was contaminated. Officials banned drinking tap water for three days.
As reported Monday by Bob Downing, a Beacon Journal staff writer, routine testing last May revealed low levels of algal toxins in the Barberton reservoir and in treated drinking water. Two of the three toxins disappeared in subsequent tests, among them microcystis, the cause of the trouble in Toledo. The third toxin lingered until January. No guidelines were violated. Treatment measures were beefed up, but city officials fear a reappearance this summer.
Neither is Barberton an isolated case. Last year, harmful algal blooms were detected in the reservoirs of some 25 Ohio cities. Toxins have been found...(To read more, click the link below):

Addressing spring cover crop questions

Addressing spring cover crop questions


Early termination of cover crops

Early termination of cover crops


Hunter Education Class

Get registered for an upcoming Hunter Education Course in Noble County. Located at the Noble County SWCD Office, April 2nd and 3rd, 2016. Register online at or call 1-800-WILDLIFE. 
For more information, call Dave Schott @ 740-732-4318. Our Wildlife/Forestry Specialist Levi Arnold will be assisting.

Image result for youth turkey harvest

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Weed Wiper

Guernsey SWCD now has a GrassWorks Weed Wiper for rent!!!  Do your pastures have those nagging tall weeds that you are battling every year? Are you tired of walking around and spot spraying each individual plant? Pulling the 10ft wide weed wiper behind your 4-wheeler or tractor will speed up this process. GSWCD’s new weed wiper will allow you to hit several plants at once by using a carpeted drum that rotates opposite the direction of travel. Herbicide is applied to targeted weeds as the roller rotates to the stem and the underside of the leaf. The roller is pressure sensitive which allows you to apply the required amount without over applying and wasting your herbicide. Best results are achieved if most of your targeted weeds are taller than the pastures grasses that are to be grazed. GSWCD has made the decision to allow only Roundup through this machine. Any questions about the Weed Wiper, please call Guernsey SWCD at 740-489-5276. 

2016 Conservation Farm Family Awards

Ohio Farmer magazine, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the Ohio Department of Agriculture are now accepting nominations to honor Ohio farm families who are leaders in conservation for the 2016 Conservation Farm Family Awards.

The Conservation Farm Family Award program has recognized Ohio farm families since 1984 for their efforts in managing natural and human resources while meeting both production and conservation goals. Individual farmers, partnerships or family farm corporations are eligible for nomination, provided a substantial portion of their income is derived from farming. The judging is based on the nominee's use of new and traditional conservation techniques, comprehensive management, individual initiative in applying conservation measures and the nominee’s willingness to share conservation information, experiences and philosophy with others.

Five area finalists will be selected from across the state and will be recognized at the annual Farm Science Review in September. They will also receive a $400 award, courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and be featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer Magazine.

The nomination form is attached but is also available online . This year’s nomination form can either be submitted by mail to:

Ohio Farmer magazine
C/O Ohio Department of Agriculture
8995 E. Main St.
Reynoldsburg, OH 43608

Or emailed to

Nominations are due MAY 20th. 

Farmers Urged to Participate in CTIC, SARE and ASTA Cover Crop Survey

A nationwide survey of farmers on cover crop use is seeking insight from growers around the country — whether or not they plant cover crops.

“This survey provides us with a great perspective on why farmers do or do not plant cover crops, what they expect to gain from the practice, and what their concerns are,” says Chad Watts, project director at the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) in West Lafayette, Indiana, which administers the survey.  “Results from the survey help guide policy, research and education on cover crops. In recent years, data from cover crop surveys has been used in testimony on Capitol Hill, featured in the New York Times, and cited in academic journals. People are very eager to hear how farmers view cover crops.”

The survey can be taken online at  until May 1, 2016.  All answers to the survey are anonymous, Watts points out. Participants who complete the survey — an easy process that takes no more than 15 minutes, and even less depending on your crop rotations and diversity —  have the option of entering into a drawing for a $100 gift card.

The project is the fourth annual cover crop survey conducted by CTIC in conjunction with USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) with help from Penton Media. Sponsors within ASTA include Albert Lea Seed, CHS, The CISCO Corporation, LaCrosse Seed, Mountain View Seed, Allied Seed, Curtis & Curtis Inc., Grassland Oregon, Justin Seed and Seedway.

Anyone interested in seeing results from the 2013, 2014 or 2015 crop year surveys and other related projects, click here.  Also, please visit our website

Friday, March 18, 2016

Time to Dust off Those Bluebird Nestboxes!

Its time already to clean and repair nestboxes on your Bluebird trail, or to build or purchase new nestboxes and get them installed and ready for their occupants.   Bluebirds are already in our area, searching out safe nesting sites in preparation for spring.

When it comes to attracting bluebirds, offering housing is the key. Bluebirds need to nest in a cavity, relying on tree cavities and old fence posts in the wild. When natural nesting sites are scarce, bluebirds will readily use manmade bluebird houses built to correct dimensions. The hole needs to be 1.5 inches to exclude starlings.  Avoid the use of perches on the box, as they attract sparrows.  Adding a predator guard will help to foil raccoons and cats, making it harder for them to reach through the opening to snag baby birds.   Mount your bluebird boxes on a fence post or pole no higher than five feet from the ground. The opening should be facing the southeast, away from prevailing winds.  Providing nesting materials is a strong factor in attracting nesting bluebirds since collecting nesting materials can take hundreds of trips. Bluebirds like soft grasses and fragrant pine needles as nesting material. The female builds a neat, cup-shaped nest of grass.  Provide these nesting materials in an empty suet cage, or simply gather bunches of material and situate in the fork of a tree.
Bluebirds prefer to live in open grassy areas near a park, golf course, meadow, pasture, or even cemetery. Bluebirds eat large quantities of insects; in fact 60-80% of their diet is insects. They like to perch on fence posts or small trees and swoop down to eat insects in the grass. Make sure you have an open, grassy area in your yard with perching space to attract them. Limit your use of chemicals and pesticides to provide insects like beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars that bluebirds love to eat.
Have your Bluebird boxes out early in the spring, as they begin to nest as soon as the end of March.  Clean the box out after each brood fledges to encourage a second nesting that year.  Each box should be spaced 100-200 yards apart to best attract Bluebirds.  Placing the box too close to brush or shrubs will encourage its use by wrens.

Another way to make your backyard habitat more attractive is to offer water sources.  Bluebirds can be drawn to a backyard birdbath or ground level water source with lots of nearby perching space.
Bluebirds enjoy the berries and fruits of wild grapes, currants, dogwood, red cedar, sumac, bayberry, Virginia creeper, deciduous hollies, blackberry, raspberry, juniper, pokeweed, mistletoe, blueberry, hackberry, euonymus and elderberry.   Planting scattered fruit and berry trees, mixed with open lawn creates a desirable habitat for attracting Bluebirds.

The Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is in the midst of its annual sale of quality long lasting cedar Bluebird boxes and other items of interest to bird lovers, including birdfeeders of all sizes and books on birds and other backyard wildlife.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

2016-2017 Ohio Hunting Regulations Proposals Amended

COLUMBUS, OH – After receiving public input about regulations proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Feb. 10, modifications were made to some of the proposed season dates for the 2016-2017 hunting regulations. These changes were presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council at Wednesday’s meeting. The council will vote on these amended proposals and all other fish and wildlife proposals at their next meeting, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The newly proposed two-day gun season dates are Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17-18, rather than the originally proposed Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 28-29. The newly proposed dates for muzzleloader season are Jan. 7-10, 2017, one week earlier than originally proposed. Public input collected over the last two months from a variety of constituents indicated that more people preferred the two-day season the weekend before Christmas and the muzzleloader season during the first weekend in January.
An adjustment to the dove season was also proposed. The opening day for the second split has been proposed to be Saturday, Dec. 17, two days later than the original proposal of Dec. 15, in order to comply with federal regulations for season lengths.
All other proposals remain unchanged from their original presentation at the Ohio Wildlife Council meeting on Feb. 10.
The Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on proposals at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 13. Visit for more information.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at
- 30 -
For more information, contact:
Brian Plasters, ODNR Division of Wildlife
Matt Eiselstein, ODNR Office of Communications

Fire Weather Warning

1031 AM EDT THU MAR 17 2016











Daylight Savings Time

American Power and Gas has launched a petition calling for an end to Daylight Saving Time.  The company said such a move would reduce energy consumption, lowering both carbon emissions and energy costs for consumers.  "We believe that Daylight Saving Time is an outdated practice that actually increases energy consumption," AP&G Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Andrea d'Agostini said. "By signing this petition you are helping us raise this issue to lawmakers and ultimately save energy."
The company cites research from Indiana, which adopted DST in 2006, as showing the change increased electricity consumption by 1% overall and by between 2-4% in the summer and fall.

Clean Energy Initiative Update

Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday certified the latest iteration of the Clean Energy Initiative.  Proponents submitted the petition on March 4, marking the sixth time the proposal has been attempted. Backers of the initiative have tried for years to create a $1.3 billion bond program over 10 years to support green energy initiatives.  Mr. DeWine's certification, as with all other certifications from his office, clarified that he is forwarding the initiative to the secretary of state "without passing upon the advisability" of the measure.

The proposal now heads to the secretary of state, who must convene the Ballot Board to determine whether the proposal is a single or multiple issues. Following that approval, the petitioners would then be cleared to collect the required 305,951 signatures to get the proposal on the ballot.  Last year's proposal mirrored previous proposals with one exception: a new section that would have enabled supporters to correct any legal challenges to the language by offering new language requiring only a fraction of the signatures currently required under the ballot process.  In November, the Ballot Board voted 3-1 to divide the issue into two issues by separating that new language. The latest proposal does not include that language.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Join us as we Celebrate National Ag Week!

Agriculture is the
most healthful, most
useful and most
noble employment
of man.”
—George Washington

American agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of everyday, fiber and clothing. That’s the message of National Ag Week, which is celebrated March 13 to March 19 this year.
The Guernsey SWCD believes that every American should understand how food and fiber products are produced and should value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. They should appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products. National Ag Week focuses on educating Americans about the industry, so they may also acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.
American agriculture can also be celebrated for its efforts in environmental conservation. Farmers and ranchers provide food and habitat for approximately 75 percent of this nation's wildlife. The current farm bill has provisions for farmers to create environmental habitats that will ensure protection of the land and water resources of this country.
Farmers use computer and satellite technology to map their fields for production inputs. They can then use these maps to track their production information to help make wise, data-driven decisions about their farming operation.  This increases yields and reduces crop inputs like fertilizer and crop protection chemicals.
With today's technology, farmers are better able to match seed characteristics and production practices to soil type and climate conditions. The result is higher yields with lower input costs from more efficient use of chemicals, fertilizers and tillage. Ultimately, that results in more food at a lower cost for consumers.
Today's farmers understand the importance of improving the quality and quantity of food available to the world. According to the US Census Bureau, it is estimated that there will be 7.5 billion people in the world by the year 2020 (we're currently at 6.2 billion). It's agriculture's job to find a way to feed those people. Advancements in crop technology, equipment technology and information management will make that possible. American farmers and others involved in the agriculture industry have met and will continue to meet this challenge again and again.
Join this effort to promote American agriculture to everyone during National Ag Week, March 13-19, 2016.  For more information contact the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District at 740-489-5276, or visit the office at 335C Old National Rd on the fairgrounds in Old Washington.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Interested in the sustainable use of Guernsey County's abundant natural resources?

Click to Enlarge

Latest MBR Measure Would Combine ODNR Divisions Of State Parks, Watercraft

The latest component of Gov. John Kasich's scaled-back mid-biennium review package focuses on the Department of Natural Resources, where the administration is looking to combine two divisions.
The fact sheet regarding the proposed consolidation of the divisions of State Parks and Watercraft (SB 293) says the aim is a "common sense approach to serving Ohio boaters."
"Consolidation of ODNR's divisions of Watercraft and State Parks, will not only offer Ohioans improved services and cost savings, but also enable ODNR law enforcement to provide greater protections for visitors at Ohio's state parks, natural areas, rivers and lakes," the administration explains in the fact sheet.
"This builds on ODNR's efforts in recent years to cross-train its Forestry, Parks and Watercraft officers, successfully reducing training costs and improving officer response and safety efforts across state properties."

The expected introduction of the proposal later today in the Senate is the latest in what's been planned as four separate "MBR" bills this spring. None are expected to be controversial or entail revenue impacts.
The bill is the first of two expected Senate MBRs, with the second said to be aimed at Environmental Protection Agency issues.
Two administration policy updates were previously introduced in the House dealing with higher education.

Plum Trees - 13th in a series from our tree sale

You can order plum trees - 1 each of Burbank and of  Red June- in our annual tree sale.  These trees are 2-3 feet tall.  2 for $15

Plum Buckle with Pecan Topping

For the topping:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), plus more for coating the pan
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

For the batter:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 pound (about 5 whole) plums, pitted and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

For the topping:
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
In a medium bowl, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the brown sugar, flour, measured butter, cinnamon, and salt until the ingredients come together but some pea-size pieces remain. Stir in the pecans, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the batter:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl until evenly combined; set aside. Whisk together the milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl until evenly combined; set aside.
Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, letting the first completely incorporate before adding the second.
Add a third of the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour in half of the milk mixture and mix on low until just incorporated. Repeat, alternating dry and wet ingredients and ending with the dry ingredients, until completely incorporated.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, fold the plums in until coated and evenly distributed, and turn the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved topping evenly over the batter and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Peach Trees - 12th in a series from our Tree Sale

You can order peach trees - 1 each of Elberta and of Maygold - in our annual tree sale.  These trees are -3 feet tall.  2 for $15
Low-cal Peach Cobbler

3 cups fresh peaches (about 4), peeled and pitted
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat all purpose flour
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp light butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp fresh grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8″ square baking dish with nonstick, butter flavored spray.
In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the nutmeg. Toss well to coat. Set aside for about 30 minutes to let the peaches soak up the sugar.
In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar.
In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, liquid egg substitute, vanilla, lemon rind and butter.
Slowly blend the milk mixture into the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.
Pour the peaches into the baking dish. Evenly spread the batter over top of the peaches and bake until the batter becomes brown – about 30 – 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and let dessert rest for half an hour before serving. Cut into 6 equally sized pieces and serve at room temp or warm if desired.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Six servings, 110 calories each

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Healthy Food for Ohio Program Aims to Encourage Grocers to Open in Food Deserts

A program launched Monday has its sights set on encouraging the development of more grocery stores and other retail outlets selling fresh food in underserved rural and urban areas.
Finance Fund Capital Corporation, or FCAP, announced the start of the Healthy Food for Ohio program, a public-private partnership that has raised about $10 million - including $2 million from the state - for grants and loans to put grocers in so-called food deserts.
The funding is designed to incentivize the construction of grocery stores by offering financing for costs like land acquisition, construction and equipment that might otherwise be too expensive for a company to consider entering an underserved market.

"Ohio's taken a really great step toward improving the overall health and well-being of its residents, as access to healthy food goes hand-in-hand with neighborhood and economic revitalization," Caroline Harries, associate director of The Food Trust, which will work with FCAP to review applications, said at a Columbus news conference.
The program came out of recommendations made last year by the Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force. That group called for lawmakers to create a program to incentivize development of fresh food retailers in underserved areas.
In last year's biennial budget (HB 64), lawmakers included funding for the Department of Job and Family Services to administer the program.
FCAP Director of Development Valerie Heiby said the fund currently has about $10 million, including the $2 million from the state and about as much from the federal government. The rest is from private fundraising, and they aren't done with that yet.

"HFFO will help overcome funding gaps and barriers faced by grocers and other healthy food retailers operating in underserved areas," FCAP President and CEO Diana Turoff said.
The program would be open to all kinds of grocers, from big chain stores to independent mom-and-pop stores to farmers markets.

Lawmakers said the program is one more way to encourage private companies to move into areas where they're needed, but where they might not otherwise go.
"There's been a federal program to finance healthy foods for a number of years and in many places," U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) said. "It's just not enough to close the gap."
Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), the House Finance Committee chairman who sponsored the state budget bill, said it will help rural areas like his district. Vinton County, a rural county in southeast Ohio and one of the state's least populous, hasn't had a grocery store since 2013, he said.
"When I tell people in Columbus that we don't have a grocery store in the entire county, they look at me like I have three heads," Rep. Smith said.

This program might reduce the risk a company would face in building a grocery store there, he said, which would save residents a trip of dozens of miles just to buy fresh food.
"I would hope that private business would fill that void, but after two, almost three years, it hasn't," he said.
Kristin Mullins, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association, said grocery stores operate on very small margins, and anything that can help defray the upfront costs of building a store will help a store stay in an area. Stores at risk of closure can also apply for help through the program.
"No grocer ever wants to close," she said. "Anything that can be done to help that is much appreciated."

Grocery stores are important because they can help residents improve their diets, said Rosemary Riley, an exercise physiologist and dietitian. People who live in lower-income areas without access to grocery stores are more likely to suffer from diet-related health conditions, she said. Diet even plays a bigger role in problems like obesity than exercise, she said.
"I believe lack of access to healthy food is a collective responsibility for all of us," she said. "Everyone deserves the chance to have a healthy diet."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Red Raspberries - 11th in a series from our Tree Sale

Red Raspberries are one of the plants in our annual tree sale. You can order 3 plants for $15. Call 740-489-5276 for an order blank.

Chocolate Almond Crust
3/4 c coconut flakes
3/4 c almonds
2 t liquid vanilla
1 1/2 oz raw cacao powder,
5 oz date paste (I use the weight in whole dates, and chop them in the food processor as I make the crust)
3 cups soaked cashews (my favorites are Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cashews)
1/3 c raw cacao nibs 1/8 t salt
Process all ingredients in a food processor until the mixture sticks when pressed between fingers. Press into a 10 inch springform pan.
Blend all in a blender except for the last 2 ingredients. When smooth, add the lecithin and cacao butter, and blend a little longer. Reserve 2 cups of filling, and pour the rest on top of the crust/raspberries (reserve 2 T of the white chocolate filling as well).
Layer on top of the crust: 6 ounces fresh rasbperries. White Chocolate Filling 2 cups almond milk
3/4 c agave syrup (although you can use healthier raw Coconut Nectar or even maple syrup)
3 T lecithin (Healthforce Lecithin Powder is non-GMO and high quality)
2 T lemon juice 1/4 c liquid vanilla 1/4 t salt 2/3 cup melted cacao butter
Pour globs of the raspberry blend on top of the white chocolate filling here and there so that it pierces the surface of the filling. Then, with a knife or something similar, swirl the 2 layers together for a pretty marbled effect. If you find the top too pink, add the reserved 2 T of white chocolate filling to add more white.
In the reserved 2 cups, add 6 ounces raspberries and 2 T lemon juice, and blend until smooth.
Set in the freezer overnight to set. Then, unmold, and let thaw slowly in the fridge. Enjoy!

White Pine (Pinus strobus) - 10th in a series from our tree sale

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 one of 10 tree seedlings, along with peach, plum and raspberry plants offered in our tree sale going on right now.  Call 740-489-5276 for an order blank.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

National Ground Water Awareness week is March 6-12

From   website

Wells tapping groundwater resources can provide drinking water of the highest quality. Owning a private household-supply water well allows homeowners to control their own water supply. Ownership also comes with the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order.

Why is a checkup important?

NGWA recommends routine annual maintenance checks to ensure the proper operation of the well and prolong its years of service as well as to monitor water quality. NGWA also recommends that you test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or when the system is serviced.

What does a checkup involve?

A licensed and/or certified water well contractor should conduct your routine well checkup. The checkup should include:
  • A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
  • An inspection of well equipment to assure it is sanitary and meets local code requirements.
  • A test of water for coliform bacteria and nitrates, and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides, and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance, and odor. Changes in these constituents also may indicate changes in your well or local groundwater,. Additional tests may be recommended if water appears cloudy or oily, if bacterial growth is visible on fixtures, or water treatment devices are not working as they should. Check with your water well contractor, state department of natural resources, or local health department for information on local water quality issues.
  • A concise, clear, written report should be delivered to you following the checkup that explains results and recommendations, and includes all laboratory and other test results.

How do I arrange for a checkup? 

A licensed and/or certified water well contractor should conduct your routine well checkup. To arrange for a checkup:
  1. Contact the Guernsey County Health Department.  They have a list of contractors. 740-439-3577
  2. Check your phone book under "Well Drilling and Service." Check with other well owners or other knowledgeable people for good contractor referrals, and ask the contractor for a list of references.
Certification. NGWA operates a voluntary certification program that sets high standards for professional competency. To achieve NGWA certification, contractors must pass exams testing their technical knowledge, and they must have at least two years of full-time groundwater contracting experience. They maintain their certification through continuing education and other criteria. NGWA can give you the names of certified contractors in your area — call NGWA at 800 551.7379 (614 898.7791), or visit its consumer Web site,, and check out the "Finding a Contractor" section.

Licensing. In the United States, most states require licensing of water well contractors and, in most cases, this means that licensed contractors have passed tests and met certain professional requirements to obtain their license. Canadian provinces, Australian states, and New Zealand also use qualification-based licensing. To find out if a contractor is licensed, contact your state government (licensing is often handled by the Department of Natural Resources or Department of Health). For a list of state agencies in the United States that govern licensing and contractor registration, contact NGWA at 800 551.7379 (614 898.7791), or visit its consumer Web site,, and check out the "Finding a Contractor" section.

Other steps to maintain your water well

  • Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) between your well and any kennels or livestock operations. Also, always maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, or chemical storage areas. Your professional water well contractor is familiar with the applicable local codes.
  • Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
  • Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing result

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sustainable soil health

Sustainable soil health

J.W. Lemons
J.W. Lemons
“A Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.
We have learned some harsh lessons about how to treat our soil. While most of us are aware of the problems of the past, some agricultural operations in the world are not heeding those lessons.
We all know that healthy soil is essential to feed the ever-increasing population of the world. However, many agriculture practices continue to damage and deplete our natural resources — of which soil ranks among the top. These practices have caused reductions in soil productivity due to soil loss through erosion and changes in the nutritional balances in soil. This has resulted in nutrient depletion and increased our dependence on synthetic fertilizers. Because of the low efficiency of many commercial fertilizers, we have over-applied many nutrients to maintain or increase crop production levels.
Although these increased inputs have led to higher yields to meet the demand for food production, the over-application of nutrients has resulted in continuous environmental degradation of soil, water and vegetation resources. In some areas, organic matter levels......(To read more, Click the link below):