Ten members of Ohio media toured the three farms participating in the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network during a Farm Bureau sponsored media tour May 11.

The group learned details about the conservation practices being tested in an effort to reduce phosphorus and sediment in the Blanchard River Watershed and throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin.

“I would argue that no other group has done more to help address the issue,” said OFBF Executive Vice President Adam Sharp to reporters from the Toledo Blade, The Plain Dealer, ag media and others before the group set out on a bus to tour the demonstration farms. “You will see the creative activity and the breadth of activity happening in our space today.”

conservation 1

Above, members of the media ask questions at Kellogg Farms.

The first stop on the media tour was to Kellogg Farms in Forest, owned and operated by Bill and Shane Kellogg. The farm consists of 5,000 acres of corn and soybeans and of those, 305 acres are committed to the network. Subsurface nutrient placement – shallow incorporation of fertilizer placed right where the future crop needs it rather than broadcast application – is one of several conservation practices on the farm, including the use of cover crops.

“If you can keep the dirt on the field the fertilizer stays there, too,” Shane Kellogg told the group.

Next stop was Kurt Farms in Dunkirk, owned and operated by Chris Kurt. The farm is 470 acres of corn and soybeans, and 168 acres are in the network. Along with edge-of-field monitoring equipment, a two-stage ditch and phosphorus removal beds are part of the practices being done on the farm.

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The two-stage drainage ditch on Kurt Farms, left, and the phosphorus bed at the edge of the field, right.

The tour ended at Stateler Farm in McComb, owned and operated by Duane and Anthony Stateler. The long-time pork producers also farm corn, soybeans and wheat on approximately 600 acres along with operating a 7,200 head wean-to-finish swine operation. The Statelers have committed 243 acres to the network. Variable rate manure application is just one of several conservation practices being tested on the farm.

Each farmer spoke to reporters not only about his own role in testing these conservation practices but also about what inspired them to become a participating demo farm.

“We ask ourselves, are we doing things right and how can we do things better?” said Anthony Stateler.

Members of the media took note, with stories about the work Farm Bureau members are doing to support water quality efforts immediately published in various news outlets, including Farm and DairyToledo Blade and WTOL, the CBS news affiliate in Toledo.

The Blanchard Demo Farms project is made possible through a five-year, $1 million agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ohio Farm Bureau. OFBF collaborated with stakeholders in Hardin and Hancock counties, as well as other partners, in identifying the farms and farmers who are participating in the demonstration sites.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
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Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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