The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is accepting nominations to honor Ohio farm families who are leaders in conservation for the 2014 Conservation Farm Family Awards.
“Many Ohio farmers are committed to conservation, and we want to honor them for efforts they have made to protect Ohio’s natural resources,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “With these awards, ODNR is able to recognize farmers who have taken extra steps toward protecting the land using conservation practices they have implemented on their own farms.”
The Conservation Farm Family Award program has recognized Ohio farm families since 1984 for their efforts in managing natural and human resources while meeting both production and conservation goals. Individual farmers, partnerships or family farm corporations are eligible for nomination, provided a substantial portion of their income is derived from farming. The judging is based on the nominee’s use of new and traditional conservation techniques, comprehensive management, individual initiative in applying conservation measures and the nominee’s willingness to share conservation information, experiences and philosophy with others.
Five area finalists will be selected from across the state and will be recognized at the annual Farm Science Review in September. They will also receive a $400 award, courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and be featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer Magazine.
Nomination forms can be obtained from local county soil and water conservation districts or by visiting ODNR’s website at soilwater.ohiodnr.gov. The forms must be returned by Thursday, May 1, to Ohio Farmer Magazine, 117 W. Main St., Suite 202, Lancaster, Ohio 43130.
The awards program is sponsored by the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources, Ohio Farmer magazine, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Hancor Inc., Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Food and agriculture is Ohio’s No. 1 industry, annually contributing more than $105 billion to the state’s economy. Agriculture is the largest land use in the state, with almost 14 million acres of farmland. Ohio’s 74,000 farms have a large impact on the state’s land, water, woodland and wildlife resources. The key to maintaining a balance between this industry’s important contribution to Ohio’s economy and the environment is conservation and wise resource management.