Ohio’s Best Conservation Farmers Awarded

The Ohio Department of Agriculture recognized five families as winners of the 2022 Conservation Farm Family Awards at Farm Science Review in London on September 22. From left: The Phelumley family, the Setledge family, the Brown family, John Brunstrator and the Baltes family are pictured with sponsors: (back row, far left) Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (back row, second from left) John Wilson, USDA NRCS; (back row, far right) Matt Peart, Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts; (second row, far right) Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda; and (back row, second from right) Jennifer Keel, Ohio farmer. (Photo provided)

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Agriculture recognized five families as winners of the 2022 Conservation Farm Family Awards at Farm Science Review in London on September 22.

Five families were honored: Setledge Farm, Auglaize County; Baltes Farm, Mahoning County; Phelumley Family, Claylick Run Farm, Licking County; Brunstrator Farm, Warren County; and Brown Family Farm, Highland County.

“We are proud to join with our conservation partners to honor these five special families who have made conservation the foundation of their work,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda. “While many farmers are conservation-minded, these families have blazed a trail of conservation for others to aspire to. Their actions not only support the state’s strong agricultural industry, but also help them produce more to preserve the integrity of their land for future generations.”

“More than ever, farmers’ planning and decision-making efforts play a large role in protecting Ohio’s natural resources in the future,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservation Officer. “These families exemplify conservation and sustainable agriculture, and we applaud their actions.”

Since 1984, the Conservation Farm Family Awards program has recognized Ohio farm families for their exemplary efforts to conserve soil, water, forests, wildlife and other natural resources on the land they farm. Farm conservation families also organize various educational programs, opening their farms to schools, scout groups, farm organizations and others.

Each family will receive $400 from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, according to the September issue of Ohio Farmer magazine. Ohio Farmer magazine has sponsored the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Awards since the program’s inception. Nominations are accepted annually from January through May, and Ohio farm families are encouraged to apply. For more information or to apply, people can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

Zone 1 Winner-Settlage Farm, Auglaize County
The 500-acre Settlage Family Farm in Auglaize County includes organic pasture, organic soybeans, organic corn, organic milk from cows, heifers and pigs. The farm is managed organically and meets a variety of crops, pastures, livestock and forests in the conservation area. In 2021, Settlage received the Cooperator Award from Auglaize SWCD.

Zone 2 winner is Baltes Farm, Mahoning County
Baltes Farm is a multi-generational, 1,000-acre family farm in Mahoning County that produces corn, beans and wheat. The Balts have long worked with the Mahoning SWCD and NRCS to implement conservation practices. Before joining the SWCD board, the family worked with SWCD to showcase their 5-6 acre pollinator plots. The Baltes family received the Mahoning SWCD Co-op of the Year.

Zone 3 winner – Claylick Run Farm, Licking County
The Fellumley family owns and operates Claylick Run Farm in Licking County, which consists of nearly 1,300 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa/grass hay and beef cattle. Claylick Run Farm is an innovative family farm that takes pride in its land. They are conservation minded in all aspects of their farming program. The Phelumley family is active in their local agricultural groups and was the recipient of the 2018 Licking SWCD Cooperator of the Year award.

Zone 4 Winner – Branstrator Farm, Warren County
John Branstrator owns and operates Branstrator Farm, which grows corn, beans, wheat and rye on 175 acres in Warren County. His 200-year-old, fifth-generation farm includes a pond, solar field and intensive cover crop pollinators. He is an ongoing partner of Warren SWCD in various educational programs for agricultural professionals and was recognized for his conservation efforts in 2001 as the recipient of the Warren SWCD Cooperator of the Year Award.

Zone 5 winner is Brown Family Farm, Highland County
The Brown family farms 1,200 acres of corn, soybeans, cattle and sheep. They use a variety of conservation practices on their first-generation farm and go the extra mile to care for the land. Nathan was named the 2018 No-Till Farmer of the Year by the Ohio No-Till Council. The Browns were also selected as Highland SWCD’s 2019 Cooperator of the Year based on their determination and desire to improve soil health and water quality throughout their operations.

— Ohio Department of Agriculture Ohio’s Best Conservation Farmers Awarded

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