Blue Heron Farm – owned, operated and managed by Duane Miller and Cynthia Koonce – of Lisbon, recently received the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award at the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s (OLC) 16th Annual Meeting and Symposium held September 6 in Columbus. The annual award recognizes the many accomplishments made by family farmers to protect Ohio’s land, air and water quality and conserve the state’s natural resources.

“Ohio’s livestock farmers are committed to protecting the land, air and water on and near their farms, and Blue Heron Farm is no exception,” said David White, OLC executive director. “The farm is a leader in implementing innovative strategies to improve the environment and is an exemplary representation of the goals that the Coalition has for all livestock farmers.”

The sheep farm has taken a number of actions to make their operation more environmentally friendly. Some of these projects include: using a solar-powered water well system, properly managing and applying manure to the land, using minimum tillage practices to protect soil, and controlling weeds by selective timed mowing and active rotational grazing. Through the years, the farm has given tours to neighbors and media representatives, and has hosted events, including Ohio Sheep Day. 

In addition to Blue Heron Farm, four other Environmental Stewardship Awards were presented at the annual meeting to the following:

All winners received a plaque from their industry's respective member organization. Each also received a proclamation of congratulations and recognition of their commitment to the basic principles of environmental and natural resource stewardship from Governor John Kasich.

OLC, coordinates the Environmental Stewardship awards program while five cooperating member organizations – the Ohio Cattlemen's Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Pork Producers Council, Ohio Poultry Association, and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association – sponsor the individual awards.

The OLC, formed in 1997, is a statewide trade organization consisting of diverse agriculture organizations and individual farmers committed to advancing environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically viable livestock farming practices.