The Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District held its annual meeting and supervisor election at The Fayette County Demonstration Farm on Tuesday, Aug. 11. This event was held jointly with Fayette Farm Bureau.
A public election took place to fill two seats as supervisor for a three year term commencing on Jan. 1, 2016. The candidates were incumbents Fred Melvin and Gary Reiterman, and challengers Kurt Cokonougher and Justin Owens. Residents and owners or renters of land in Fayette County had the opportunity to vote in this election since July 21. Representatives of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission were on hand to oversee the election. Fred Melvin and Gary Reiterman were announced as winning re-election to the board.
The guest speaker was John Schlichter, Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Schlichter spoke on the problems being created by nutrient runoff into streams and lakes around the state. He also outlined recent steps the Ohio Legislature has taken to address these problems.
Several local residents were recognized during the event. Gary Reiterman was honored for his 21 years of service on the Board of Supervisors. Chet Murphy received a 10-year service plaque.
The District annually sponsors a natural resources related themed poster contest in the Miami Trace and Washington schools. This year’s theme was “Local Heroes, Your Hardworking Pollinators.” Mei Kabayashi’s poster was selected as the Fayette County winner for the fourth-sixth grade division. Her poster was also chosen as the State of Ohio winner for this division. Indica Wilson’s poster was first in Fayette County for the seventh-eighth grade division and placed third at the state level.
Franke Neff and Caleb Penwell were awarded 2015 Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District scholarships in the amount of $500 each. Both Franke and Caleb graduated from Miami Trace High School this spring. Franke will be attending Morehead State University with a major in Animal Science. Following graduation, she intends to continue her education in order to become a large animal vet. Caleb is already attending Northern Oklahoma University with a major in Animal Science. He intends to enter the animal pharmaceutical field following graduation. He wants to develop replacements for today’s antibiotic use in the food-animal industry.
The “Cooperator of the Year” award was presented to Mary Bridgman of Bridgman Farm. Over the past few years Mary has taken advantage of several practices to enhance her vegetable operation. She has installed a Seasonal High Tunnel to extend her growing season; planted nine acres of cover crops to reduce nutrient runoff and improve soil health; and constructed over four acres of grassed waterways to control gully erosion.
Fayette SWCD District Director Chet Murphy closed by thanking all those individuals and groups who work with the district to protect and improve the natural resources of Fayette County.