Ohio Farmer is honored to salute the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Award winners for 2013. The five families are featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer and will be recognized during the Ohio Farm Science Review Sept 19. This is the 30th anniversary of the program, which is sponsored by Ohio Farmer and operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources. The Ohio Farm Bureau and Hancor Corp. also co-sponsor the event, which has recognized 156 families.
"This year's winners show the diversity of Ohio farming and the value of soil and water conservation in all types of agriculture," says Tim White, editor of Ohio Farmer. "From a 25-acre diversified suburban operation to a 3,500-acre hill country cattle farm, there is a place and a need for conservation."
The winning operations are the Raber family's Red Hill Farms near Cambridge, the Campbell family's Stone Creek Farms, near Diamond, the Brown family's Brownhaven Farm near New Bremen, the Barber family and C.J. Rowe's grain farm near Mt. Orab and the Weber family's diversified farm near Cincinnati.
Water quality, soil protection, grazing management, woodland management, wildlife habitat, and drainage control are part of an ecological approach that these farms use to enhance their business and assure productive agriculture for future generations.
Red Hill Farms operated by Randy and Marijane Raber includes a 120-cow dairy herd, a 500 cow/calf operation, a feedlot under construction to handle 500 feeders, more than 800 acres of corn and beans, more than 1,500 acres of pasture and about the same amount of hay. Located in an area of the state that is growing pipelines and shale wells, the farm has built more than 25 miles of new fence and multiple watering systems to handle the cattle. "Conservation is an ever evolving process," Randy Raber says. "It's a better way to learn. An open mind can protect our environment and be more profitable."
*Harold and Maureen Campbell's farm adjoins Milton Creek State Park. He and his son Ben run 400 acres of pasture and 175 acres of hay. They raise a herd of 100 cow/calf pairs and feed the calves in a small feedlot. The pasture is divided into 4-acre cells each supplied with its own watering source. In all 36 outlets connected with 16,000 feet of water lines have been built. Water troughs and a mineral feeder are moved along with the cows from cell to cell on a daily basis. "The new technology and advancements for graziers has been amazing," he says. "It's more than you would ever expect."