60th annual Crawford SWCD meeting welcomes new members, honors old
February 11, 2009
The Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District Saturday morning held its 60th annual report meeting at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School with a complimentary breakfast of pancakes and sausage.
The district reported a successful past year in conservation practices. According to the annual fiscal report, the total cost share through conservation partners in Crawford County from June 2007 through June 2008 was $293,624.38.
|Crawford County District 1 Commissioner Larry Bye, left, Saturday morning swears in Kenny Sturgeon, center, and Andy Howell as new members to the Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. They succeed Bill Breeding and Charlotte Hacker. (Photo by Nick Simpson)
The meeting was marked by the election and appointment of two new members to the board of supervisors, as well as an informative presentation by guest speaker Barry Fisher, a National Resource Conservation Service agronomist for the State of Indiana.
Andy Howell, who currently oversees the FFA program at CCJSHS and has worked as an assistant to the board of supervisors, was appointed to take Charlotte Eddleman Hacker's spot on the board. Hacker has served on the board since 1994.
Bill Breeding, who was recently elected to the Crawford County Council, put his seat on the board up for election. Kenny Sturgeon of Eckerty and Eric Anderson of Milltown were candidates for the position. Sturgeon owns 38 acres in the county and is the English town marshal. He has participated in many projects and developments related to NCRS. Anderson owns 93 acres in the county and his expertise is in the area of forestry. Sturgeon received more votes from those present at the meeting and was later sworn in, along with Howell, by Crawford County District 1 Commissioner Larry Bye.
Fisher talked about the Indiana Conservation Til-lage Initiative, which is encouraging Indiana farmers to engage in no-till farming practices. The initiative focuses on soil quality, water quality and food quality through good soil management.
"Soil conservation is your insurance policy," Fisher said, referring to the catastrophic floods that plagued Indiana last spring.
Much of Fisher's talk centered around the floods and the detrimental effects they had on Indiana farms, including cuts and scours, broken levees, massive soil loss and the influx of sand replacing topsoil.
"In June 2008 alone, 208 million tons of soil were lost," he said.
Fisher said one ton of topsoil contains roughly two million nematodes, 100 trillion bacteria, 200 million protozoa and 100 miles of fungal hyphae. All of these organisms play an important role in crop production.
Where topsoil was completely stripped, farmers lost an average of $25,157 an acre in total nutrients at 2008 prices.
Not only was the topsoil completely washed away in several places, the heavy rains also resulted in super-saturated soil that killed off much of the biology in the soil (earthworms, nematodes, etc.) that aids in producing higher yields.
When the damage was compared between no-till and tilled farms, it was found that for every 35 tons of tilled soil lost, only five tons of no-till soil was lost.
In the awards presentation of the meeting, Breeding and Hacker received recognition for their time on the board of supervisors.
The 2008 Crawford County Master Farmer Conservation Award was given to Stanley Landers. He was born and reared on his Crawford County farm where he lived and farmed for 83 years. Last year, Landers and his wife, Thelma, sold their farm and purchased a house in Sellersburg. The last year that the Landers farmed, they grew more than 1,000 acres of no-till corn and beans and sold more than 1,200 hogs.
The 2008 Crawford County Conservation Farmer of the Year was given to long-time board member Sam Mellett. Mellett has served on the Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors since 1971. He is currently the vice chairman. Mellett and his wife, Elsie, moved to their 93-acre farm north of Milltown in 1963 and have until recently run a cow-calf operation. They continue to raise hay for livestock feed.
The 2009 school poster contest winners were the following:
•Grades K and 1: first, Jacie Kalk; second, Anthony Hines; and third, Hunter Snelling;
•Grades 2 and 3: first, Wyatt McCreery; second, Mairee Huffman; and third, Jesse Hollen;
•Grades 4 and 5: first, Brian Mitchell; second, Jada Smith; and third, Shelby Duncan; and
•Grades 6 and 7: first, Alex Montgomery; second, Savannah Lungdren; and third, Shawna Johnson.