The factors considered in determining the award winners include general nature and history of the farming operation, nutrient management system, how the nutrient management program contributes to the profitability of the operation, stewardship goals and accomplishments, innovative management practices developed and implemented, involvement in programs to promote environmental stewardship, steps taken to develop and present a positive image for the operation which in turn contributes to a positive perception of Ohio agriculture and steps taken to improve communications and relations with the farm’s neighbors and community.
This year’s winners:
Sheep – Cottage Hill Farm: Owned, operated and managed by the Moore family (Stanley, JoAnn, Rick, Marcie, Steve and Angie). The farm is located in Harrison County, near the village of Flushing. The farm consists of 2,900 acres upon which more than 1,000 ewes producing 1,650 lambs annually are raised. The Moore family has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in the construction of fences, stock tanks and pipelines to maximize pasture fields and to create and follow approved nutrient management plans.
Pork – Stebbins Farms: George and Tim Stebbins started raising hogs in Montgomery County in 1971 with 27 market hogs they purchased for 4-H projects. Today, the family farm consists of nearly 3,000 head, wean-to-finish operation and 1,800 acres of crops. The farm established several soil conservation practices including grassed waterways, filter and buffer strips and uses strict nutrient management programs. George and Tim also incorporate many neighbor and community relation programs.
Beef – Royer Family: This 1,300 acre Hardin County farm of Gene and Mariann Royer and family raises nearly 200 Angus cows-calves each year. The family has worked closely with the Hardin County Soil and Water Conservation District to take many proactive measures in protecting the environment, including no-till practices, installing grassed waterways and using fertilizer secondary containment systems.
Dairy – Brownhaven Farm: Located in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed in Auglaize County, brothers Lou and Alan Brown take pride in properly managing this 250 acre farm where they milk 180 cows and raise 160 heifers annually. The Browns have taken many steps to protect and preserve the land, air and water, including planning wide areas of grasses along waterways, maintaining wetlands and planting cover crops. Additional practices include establishing buffers along wooded areas that are difficult to farm, encouraging wildlife habitat. Many of their conservation practices are made possible through working with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Poultry – Dahlinghaus Family: Also located in Auglaize County and the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed is the 600 acre farm of Paul and Donna Dahlinghaus. They raise turkeys for Cooper Farms, milk approximately 70 cows and operate a hog farm. The family farm has worked closely with the Auglaize Soil and Water Conservation District to develop a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, grouping conservation practices and management activities, including manure and wastewater storage and handling, nutrient and feed management and land treatment practices.
Photo Credit: Galen Harris