Ohio Livestock Group Names Environmental Stewardship Winners

Ohio Livestock Council to present the awards to dairy, sheep, hog, turkey and grain operators during its annual meeting Sept. 6.

Published on: Aug 27, 2013

The Ohio Livestock Council has announced the winners of this year's Environmental Stewardship Awards. The awards will be presented at the group's annual meeting and industry symposium Sept. 6. To register to attend the event, please visit the website.

The winners are Sharp Family Dairy, Fairfield County, Blue Heron Farm, Columbiana County, Shoup Brothers Farm, Wayne County, LeFevre Turkey Farm, Mercer County and Ricketts Farm in Fayette County. Here are descriptions of the operations courtesy of the OLC.

Don Sharp, of Sharp Family Dairy, owns and operates a 75-head organic, grazing dairy. The dairy farm has taken a number of actions to make their operation more environmentally friendly. Some of these projects include: properly managing and applying manure to the land, installing a settling basin and filter strips to protect soil and improve water quality, and participating in the Grassland Reserve Program and Conservation Stewardship Program to further protect the environment. The farm is active in the local community and has hosted many tours to educate various groups about their farming operation.

Ohio Livestock Group Names Environmental Stewardship Winners
Ohio Livestock Group Names Environmental Stewardship Winners

Blue Heron Farm is owned and operated by Duane Miller and Cynthia Koonce. They have 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. 

Shoup Brothers Farm is an eighth-generation farm that raises hogs and grows corn, soybeans and wheat. The hog farm has taken a number of actions to make their operation more environmentally friendly. Some of these projects include: developing a comprehensive nutrient management plan, properly managing and applying manure to the land, using reduced and strip tillage practices for crop production to protect soil, and installing grass waterways and buffer strips to reduce erosion and further protect the environment. In addition, the farm works with local farmers and organizations, including the Sugarcreek Watershed Partner to regularly test and monitor streams for nutrient runoff.

LeFevre Turkey Farm has taken a number of actions to make its operation more environmentally friendly. Some of these projects include: developing a comprehensive nutrient management plan through the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, properly managing and applying manure to the land, routine manure and soil sampling, using minimum tillage to protect the soil, constructing retention and detention ponds to capture runoff water and irrigate water out in the summer months, and installing grass waterways and filter strips to reduce erosion and further protect the environment. LeFevre Farms takes great pride in keeping the facilities neat and clean at all times and being a responsible neighbor.

Ricketts Farm under the management expertise of J. L. and Jessica Draganic has taken a number of actions to make their operation more environmentally friendly. The Fayette County farm has developed a comprehensive nutrient management plan through the United States Department of Agriculture's  Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The farm uses variable rate technology, which allows them to vary the rate of fertilizer application as it is applied on the fields. In addition, Ricketts Farm protects the land from soil erosion through the construction of grass waterways and water and sediment control basins. This helps to reduce nutrient runoff and keep streams clean. The farm also has planted more than 55 acres of native warm season grasses to further prevent soil erosion and filter surface runoff.