Meet Ohio’s Conservation Farmers

Buckeye Farm Beat

2009 Ohio Farmer Conservation Farm Family Award winners to be honored at Farm Science Review Sept. 24.

Published on: August 24, 2009

I am pleased to announce the five winners of the 2009 Ohio Farmer Conservation Farm Family Award. A farm operation is chosen from each of the five areas of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the state. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water coordinates this program, which has honored 130 families in its 26 years of operation.


*Don and Pam Smith farm about 1900 acres near Rootstown in Portage County. Don uses minimum tillage or no-till on the farm. He plants rye as a cover crop and rotates the acres between corn and soybeans – adding wheat, hay and pasture where it fits. He recently installed a pair of 1,600-foot waterways to help control drainage. He has built three heavy use pads around the farm to keep their 48 brood cows out of the mud.


“We take a proactive approach to resource management because we value responsible land stewardship,” he says.


*Barbara Sinn returned to her family farm in Defiance County following a career as a software developer. She maintains the conservation legacy left by her father Vance Sinn. She has put about 100 acres of the farm into the Conservation Reserve Program with 10 acres of wetlands. The remaining 250 acres of cropland rotates between no-till corn and no-till soybeans. She also manages about 40 acres as woodland.


“Conservation is a win-win for the environment and a great fit form my faming operation,” she says.


*Michel Livestock LLC is a family partnership owned by Don, Gene, Dennis and Paul Michel and their sister Nancy Peck. The operation is located near Zanesville in Muskingum County. Dennis manages the farm operation which includes about 1,000 acres of cropland and 400 acres of hay and pasture. The raise 140 cows and feed about 600 steers and heifers at a time. They have added covered storage for their livestock areas and manure handling system to prevent runoff. They have three spring developments and several grass filter strips.


“Applying conservation practices makes sense on the farm. Protecting natural resources adds to the economic value of the business at the same time it ensures continued productivity,” Dennis says.


Betsy and Larry Moore’s farm has been in her family for nearly 180 years. It is located along the Scioto River near Andersonville in Ross County. Their conservation work includes woodland management, wildlife plots, pasture renovation, intensive grazing, drainage and spring developments. Their daughters Erin Henshaw and Jennifer Johnston have helped them establish conservation practices. The cropland is farmed no-till by Betsy’s brothers.


“We treasure the heritage of farmland and natural resources and have a responsibility to protect and enhance them for future generations through the use of good conservation practices,” the couple says.


Kathy and Steve Frankenberg make sure the whole family works together as a team to put conservation into practice on the 125-cow dairy farm near New Bremen in Shelby County. Daughters Joanna and Abi and sons Lee and Dean each enjoy a role in the farm’s operation. Their 440 acres of cropland serves as a forage and grain base for the cattle. Except for wheat grain the entire crop is used for feed. The rotation of corn and no-till soybeans also includes clover oats, sorghum sudangrass or oats depending on the situation. Manure is returned to the land with help from a neighbor’s dragline system.


“We aim to better our society by protecting, conserving and utilizing God’s resources to provide for our family and future generations,” they say.


Congratulations to all of the winners. Thanks very much to the Division of Soil and Water Conservation as well as our cosponsors the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Hancor Co. Please join us in recognizing these conservation leaders at the Farm Science Review Sept. 24 at 11:30 a.m. at Lawrence G. Vance soil and Water Conservation Park.