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News Release
September 8, 2003


COLUMBUS, OH -- Ohio's top conservation farm families for 2003 will be honored for their long-standing dedication to natural resource conservation on the land they farm during ceremonies at the Ohio Farm Science Review near London on September 18. The annual awards are sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio Farmer magazine and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

"These awards recognize farm families who have gone the extra mile in protecting the environment while producing food and fiber crops that are such an important part of Ohio's economy," said David Hanselmann, chief of the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Conservation. "Not only do all Ohioans benefit from the practices these farmers are using to prevent soil erosion and water pollution, but they serve as an example of what individuals can do to conserve the state's natural resources." Hanselmann also serves as coordinator for the program. The families being honored are Walter and Donna Lange of Fulton County; Chase Heyman and family of Huron County; Don Guindon of Belmont County; Don and Gloria Riley of Montgomery County; and Russell and Barb Casper who farm in Highland County.

Since 1984, the Conservation Farm Family Awards program has recognized more than 100 Ohio farm families for their exemplary efforts of conserving soil, water, woodland and wildlife and other natural resources on the land they farm. Conservation farm families also host a variety of educational programs, opening their farms to schools, scout groups, farm organizations and others.

In addition to receiving $400 each from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the families are also featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer magazine. The publication has co-sponsored the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Awards since the program's inception. Nominations are sought annually between January and May.

Profiles of the 2003 Conservation Farm Family Award winners are below:
Area 1

Walter and Donna Lange own a 56-acre Certified Tree Farm near Swanton in Fulton County. Cooperators with the Fulton Soil & Water Conservation District since 1988, the Lange's have completed a number of conservation practices, including windbreaks to control wind erosion, more than six acres of grassed and forested filter strips, tree planting, grapevine control, and wetland restoration. They also restored a formerly grazed woodlot into a six-acre green tree marsh in their woods to benefit wildlife. The Lange Tree Farm has been the site of numerous education programs, including numerous field days for the ODNR Division of Forestry, OSU Extension's "Woodland Stewards" program, and the October 2002 Central States Forest Soils Conference. Walt and Donna currently serve on the Ohio Tree Farm Committee and the American Forest Foundation's Education Committee. Walt was recently elected to the Fulton SWCD Board of Supervisors.

Area 2

Chase Heyman and family operate a 2,778 acre diversified farm in Huron and Erie counties. Crops include soybeans, corn, wheat, popcorn, hay and cabbage. As cooperators with the Huron and Erie Soil & Water Conservation Districts since 1954 and 1977 respectively, Chase and his son Kurt have installed numerous conservation practices, including water and sediment control basins, 11 acres of grassed waterways and 24 acres of grass filter strips. Conservation tillage and no-till are practiced on all cropland acres. Precision farming with global positioning satellites allows for efficient nutrient placement. Enterprise Hill Farm has been the site of numerous education programs, including Land and Soil Judging and conservation tours. Chase has served on the Huron SWCD Board of Supervisors for more than 40 years; Kurt has served on the Erie SWCD Board of Supervisors since 1989. About conservation, Chase says, "You should do it whether you get paid for it or not, because it's the right thing to do!"

Area 3

Donald Guindon manages the Olney Taber Farm for the Olney Friends Quaker High School in Belmont County. Corn, hay, oats, a two-acre orchard, 67-acre woodlot, ponds and gardens occupy the 300-acre farm. A 114-head registered Jersey herd is pastured on 100 acres. The farm, a Belmont Soil & Water Conservation District cooperator since 1956, employs numerous conservation practices, including conservation tillage and no-till, cover crops, crop rotations, 110 acres of contour strips, and fencing to exclude livestock from streams and woodlands. Pasture stand improvement was recently completed on eight acres, six additional springs were developed, and a roofed livestock manure facility was installed to better implement the nutrient management plan. The high school's biology and environmental science classes enjoy hands-on learning, and the school annually participates in the Area 3 Envirothon. "As stewards of the land, we are committed to faithfully maintain the resources entrusted to us by previous generations for use by future generations," Donald said.

Area 4

Don and Gloria Riley farm 500 acres in Montgomery, Darke, and Preble counties. Major crops include soybeans, wheat, and corn. They also have a 98-acre woodlot. Seven acres have been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, removing land that had previously suffered unacceptable soil erosion. Don employs numerous conservation practices on his farm, including the installation of grassed waterways, buffer strips and windbreaks to reduce erosion. For more than 15 years Don has utilized no-till on his soybeans crops. Don was member of the Montgomery Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors for six years, and served as the county's coordinator for the multi-county Mohler Ditch Project. During that time, Don took special pleasure in educating the public regarding the importance of drainage related issues. "Educating the public regarding the benefits of conservation and preservation of our resources for future generations is what farming is all about," Don said.

Area 5

Russell and Barb Casper operate a 250-acre livestock farm in Highland County. Cooperators with Highland Soil & Water Conservation District for more than six years, conservation practices include grassed waterways and forested filter strips. With assistance from SWCD staff, the Caspers developed a Woodland Management Plan that includes livestock exclusion fencing, timber stand improvement, brush pile management, and wood duck and bluebird boxes. Barb and Russ are active in the local community and are members of the county and state Cattlemen's Association and the American Hereford Association. Barb is also the Farm Bureau Safety Coordinator giving presentations at the Highland County Farmers Club and other community organizations. Boy Scouts camp at the farm annually, where they enjoy safety talks and earn nature-related merit badges. "We recognize the importance of utilizing Managed Intensive Grazing and environmentally friendly practices and programs to enhance economic viability and ecological compatibility of our livestock operation," Russell said.

For additional news online, check out the ODNR Press Room at
For Further Information Contact:
Jane Beathard, ODNR Media Relations
(614) 265-6860
Blaine Gerdes, ODNR Soil & Water Conservation
(614) 265-6938




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