May 2008

Farms Throughout Ohio Recognized as Excellent Environmental Stewards

COLUMBUS, OH - Two things are important to this year's Environmental Stewardship Award (ESA) winners -- each farm's rich history and bright future thanks to the owners' management and love of the land.
           
Protecting the environment on their farms and in their communities plays a vital role in where each operation has been in the past and where the producers expect to be in the future, according to Sandy Kuhn, executive director of the Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC), which cooperates with seven commodity organizations to present the awards.

The ESA program annually honors outstanding accomplishments made by farmers who develop and implement exemplary management practices that protect the environment and conserve precious natural resources. In doing so, they have minimized their operations' footprints on the environment by working to preserve and improve water and air quality, to protect the land and promote wildlife.

This year's award winners were recognized during OLC's annual meeting on April 8th. Recipients were:

"Each of these farms has a strong history," Kuhn said. "These are family operations; regardless of the size, they support the families that own and operate them. The only way they'll continue to do that into the future is to act responsibly by taking care of the land, air and water around them."

On each application, farmers were asked "What does environmental stewardship mean to me?"

For the Andersons of Wayne County, "Environmental stewardship means treating the land the way we wish others had treated it before us.  It also means looking to the future and doing those things that improve, nurture and make for a healthy ecosystem for those who take care of the land when we are gone."

 Neil Boeckman recognizes that the farm must not only be a good steward of the environment, but also be a responsible animal caretaker, environmental innovator, community leader, civic volunteer and contributor. 

In his application, Mike Sims stated, "Taking care of the land in such a way so that you can improve the fertility, organic matter, water holding capacity and general overall health of the soil.  Keeping a good, thick sod will cut down on erosion and this is very important for good stewardship."

Kuhn said she's encouraged about the future of animal agriculture in Ohio because of farms like those being honored this year.

"These farms are all extremely worthy to be receiving this honor, but the reality is that farmers all over this state are responsible and intentional about the ways they protect the natural resources around them," she said.