KOSCIUSKO — Several local individuals were recognized Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the 62nd annual Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District meeting, which was held at 2517, Warsaw.
Tiffany Parker, from the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site, was the guest speaker and gave a presentation on restoration efforts at this historic site and on the property’s namesake, famed Indiana author Gene Stratton-Porter.
Jon Roberts is retiring from the SWCD board after 26 years and was honored with a Distinguished Service award. After serving the local SWCD as an associate supervisor, Roberts was elected to the board as a supervisor in 1992. He has represented SWCD on a variety of local, watershed-scale and state committees and advisory boards. He has also held leadership roles on the state IASWCD board.
Each year the SWCD recognizes the top four high school individuals in the area of soil judging. This year, the four students recognized were Makenzie Woodcox, Tippecanoe Valley High School; Amber Evans, Tippecanoe Valley High School; Justin Beer, Wawasee High School; and Adam Beer, Wawasee High School.
Mullet Farm was among 49 farmers who received the River Friendly Farmer Award this past year, for the work they do on their land to protect Indiana’s water resources. This operation produces grain and hay near the headwaters of the Yellow River/Kankakee. Their conservation practices of no-till, precision farming, pasture management and rotation, including hay, have had positive impacts on soil health and water quality.
David Lash received the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award. On his farming operation in the Mentone area, he does no-till planting and has installed filter strips and waterways. Nutrient and integrated pest management strategies have also been incorporated into his operation, with cover crops being used for nutrient storage and erosion control. He has also become an agricultural advocate in his community, working with schools and other groups on behalf of agriculture.
During the meeting, elections were held for a board supervisor, with Ryan Martin being elected to his first term. Martin took the oath of office with Stan Moore, who was appointed to a new supervisor term.
Not present but also receiving awards were the following:
- Chuck Harvuot was honored as the Conservation Educator of the year. Harvuot has volunteered countless hours to assist with field programs. He is an integral part of the district-sponsored Master Naturalist program, by advising on the steering committee and by his presence at training sessions. Additionally, he finds time to do volunteer water monitoring in the county and has participated in Snapshot Water Monitoring days.
- Kevin Wagoner was recognized with the Nutrient Management Award. In his poultry operation, several best management practices have been installed including dry stacking manure storage and a composting mortality facility. He follows a nutrient and pest management plan for both manure and composted material as well as general fertility applications. On his farm ground, he uses no-till planting and winter cover crops to help sequester nutrients.
- Lucas Reed was recognized with the Environmental Enhancement Award. Through a forest management plan, he did timber stand improvement on his 30 wooded acres, as well as, woodland invasive species control. He also established new windbreaks on his property.