Family farm honored at banquet

Ryan Carpe

December 5, 2013

DARKE COUNTY – The Darke County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) held its Annual Report and Banquet Ceremony recently, where it elected a new board member and honored the efforts of its many supporters.

Monty Stump of Greenville Township was named onto the SWCD board, and his term will begin in January of 2014. Stump has been involved with several conservation practices in his farming operation, such as the Conservation Reserve Program, as well as utilizing buffer strips and wildlife habitat strips. Stump is a graduate of Ansonia Local Schools and has a B.A. in Business Administration from Ohio Northern University. He is married to Krista Hurley, and they have two children with two grandchildren.

This year’s Cooperator of the Year was Lochtefeld Family Farms, which consists of Dan and Mary Lochtefeld and their four sons, Nation, Aaron, Seth and Derek. They started the farm back in 1988, where they raise corn, soybeans, wheat, turkeys and pigs. They also started a Walnut Orchard in 1997, where they planted a total of six acres of trees in a three-year period.

The Lochtefeld Family has implemented numerous best practices on their farm over the years, including 8.84 acres of grassed waterways, 2.4 acres of filter strips, .2 acres of CRP buffer and no-till over 130 acres. This year, Dan and his sons Aaron and Nathan also completed the Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Workshop series put on by the Darke SWCD and Ohio State University.

The previous year’s Cooperator of the Year was Larry and Jeff Martin, while 2011’s winner was Heckman Farms.

The SWCD also honored the Greenville FFA for achieving the Envirothon Top Score, which is an environmentally themed academic competition for high school aged students.

Back in September, the SWCD hosted a land judging contest in Harrison Township where 16 teams competed, of which nine were Darke County teams.

The Soils Judging Contest Winners included Versailles High School in the Rural Team category, Danielle Hesson for the Rural Individual category, Tri-Village High School in the Urban Team category and Logan Durst in the Urban Individual category.

Micaela Wright of Arcanum was named this year’s SWCD Scholarship winner, and Jason Wright of Ansonia was named Teacher of the Year.

Also given special mention were the winners of the rain barrel painting contest, where the SWCD invited local area schools to participate. Mississinawa Valley High School was awarded first place, Ansonia High School was awarded third place and Arcanum High School received third place.

In addition to the banquet, Scott Trostel, noted historian and local writer, presented a program on the 1913 flood in the northern Miami Valley. The flood was described as the single largest natural disaster in the state’s history, and the presentation used slides to display the victims and destruction of the northern Dayton region which affected tens of thousands of Ohioans.

The Darke Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio, which is tasked with conserving the soil, water and other natural resources within Darke County. The organization was established in 1955.

The district assists landowners on a continuing basis to helm meet agricultural and urban sediment and pollution abatement standards which have been adopted by local, state and federal governments.

“Here at the district, we’re proud partners in the business of conserving, protecting and educating the people of Darke County about their natural resources,” said Don Lecklider, SWCD Chairman.

The application of conservation practices is a cooperative effort between the district and landowners, with the landowner voluntarily implementing the recommendations.

The district is administered by a board of five supervisors who are elected by the residents of Darke county. The board meets monthly to conduct the business of the district and regularly attend meetings as representatives of the organization.