Conservation Farm Awards
2021 Conservation Farm Award
The Bowers Family
The Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors and Staff would like to award the 2021 Conservation Farm Award to Bowers Farms LLC. Randy Bowers is married to Michele and they have two sons Dan (wife Mary) and David. The Bowers family farms 1,000-acres located in Chester Township and other areas of Wayne and Ashland Counties. The family has been farming since 1989, with Randy and his son Dan farming full-time, Michele takes care of the books and David is a territory Sales Manager for Stoller USA and helps out during the busy seasons. This is truly a family operation. The Bowers have a crop rotation of corn, soybeans and rye cover crop in the fall. Last year they put cover crops on corn and green seeded soybeans in the standing rye. Randy usually does three test plots per year - 2 corn and 1 beans. Bowers Farms utilizes conservation practices including corn that is strip-tilled or no till, numerous sod waterways, cover crops, subsurface nutrient application through strip-till (all NPK under the row) and vertical tillage on cornstalks in the fall and spring. Organizations that the family belongs to are the Farm Bureau, Northview Alliance Church, and they are all NRA Members and believe in the Second Amendment. One of their strong suits is that they fix most things in their farming operation, and build and modify equipment for their needs. The Bowers also do custom work for neighbors and friends. Randy is often called a “Modern Day MacGyver” and his son Dan is following in his father’s footsteps. Because of their commitment to conservation, please join us on congratulating Randy, Dan, Michele and David, of Bowers Farms in winning the 2021 Conservation Farm Award!
Randy stated, “It is an honor and surprise to receive this award. We try to look at our conservation practices as the right thing to do with the soils we farm, and not so much as a profit center. What we are realizing however is that the conservation practices we employ are indeed paying us back. Be nice to your soil and it will be nice to you. No man is an island. We have had lot of help along our conservation journey. To our mentors, suppliers, neighbors, friends and family who have helped in any way, please accept our most sincere thanks and know that you too share in this award.”
2020 Conservation Farm Award
Tim & Karen Anderson
2019 Conservation Farm Award
2018 Conservation Farm Award
Earl Jentes Family Farm & Blue Ridge Farm, LLC
Earl Jentes Family Farm
Blue Ridge Farms, LLC
The Earl Jentes Family Farm is operated by Earl and his family in Wayne Township. Earl and his wife Robin, sons Brian and Darren and daughter-in-law Lacey all assist with the dairy operation. A conservation plan is being followed on 700 acres of cropland. A rotation of corn, soybeans, small grain, and alfalfa grass hay is followed. Practices include conservation tillage, grassed waterways, strip cropping, cover crops, tile drainage, nutrient management, and a waste storage facility. Because of their commitment to conservation this year’s Conservation Farm Award goes to the Earl Jentes Family Farm!
The Blue Ridge Farms, LLC is operated by Robert Jentes and his family in Wayne Township. Robert and his wife Jan, son Daryl and daughter Sheryl all assist with the dairy operation. A conservation plan is being followed on 750 acres of cropland. A rotation of corn, soybeans, small grain, and alfalfa grass hay is followed. Practices include conservation tillage, strip cropping, cover crops, tile drainage, grassed waterway, nutrient management and waste storage. Because of their commitment to conservation this year’s Conservation Farm Award goes to the Blue Ridge Farms, LLC!
2017 Conservation Farm Award
Pine Tree Dairy
The Pine Tree Dairy is operated by Matt Steiner and his family in Milton Township. Matt and his sons Nate, Joel, Luke, Aaron, Andrew, Ethan, Matthew Jr. and son-in-law Jeremy all assist with the farm. The new facility was finished in 2012 and houses 650 dairy cows. It features a parallel parlor and sand bedding. A conservation plan and a comprehensive nutrient management plan are being followed on 2400 acres of cropland. A rotation of corn, small grain and alfalfa is followed. The crops are planted no-till and mulch till. In 2012 a large earthen storage facility with a synthetic liner and two 120 foot circular concrete tanks were installed which provides 6 months of storage for the main dairy. A sand separation system and a silage leachate collection system were also installed that year. Because of their commitment to conservation this year’s Conservation Farm Award goes to the Pine Tree Dairy!
2016 Conservation Farm Award
McKelvey Dairy Farm
The McKelvey Dairy Farm is operated by Kelly and Connie McKelvey along with their son Matt and his wife Tonya. The farm is located in Salt Creek Township and consists of approximately 230 dairy cows and 340 acres of cropland. Crops include corn, small grain and hay. All crops are planted with conservation tillage including no-till and strip-till to protect the soil. A conservation plan and comprehensive nutrient management plan are being followed on all the land. Many conservation practices have been implemented on the farm over the years including crop rotations, strip cropping, cover crops, grassed waterways, subsurface drains, nutrient management, waste storage facilities and composting. The storage facilities include a 2 million gallon earthen lagoon, a ½ million gallon earthen lagoon and a 40’ x 80’ pen pack compost facility for heifers. Excess manure not utilized on the dairy is used by a nearby grain farmer. The farm also has a mortality composting facility. Because of the commitment to conservation, this year’s Farm Award goes to the McKelvey Dairy Farm!
2015 Conservation Farm Award
David Rohr operates a grain farm in Wayne County with help from his wife Velda. The farm is located in Green Township and consists of 400 acres of cropland with 80 acres of alfalfa rented to Fred and Scott Myers. A conservation plan and nutrient management plan are being followed on the land. A rotation of corn and soybeans is followed with all crops planted no-till or minimum till. The SWCD has assisted with the installation of many conservation practices over the years including crop rotations, conservation tillage, grassed waterways, subsurface drains, contour farming, strip cropping and nutrient management. David has participated in several programs including the Conservation Reserve Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program. In addition to the work on his own farm, David enjoyed being an SWCD Board member for 25 years serving in all capacities including President. He was also an Ohio Federation Director for 10 years. Because of his commitment to conservation, this year’s Farm Award goes to David Rohr!
2014 Conservation Farm Award
Esselburn Grain and Cattle Farm, LLC
Esselburn Grain and Cattle Farm, LLC is operated by Tom and Kelly Esselburn along with their son Justin and daughter Katie. The farm is located in Plain Township and consists of 475 acres of cropland and 100 beef cattle. The farm has participated in several conservation programs over the years including CRP, EQIP and CSP. A conservation plan and comprehensive nutrient management plan are being followed on all the land. Crops include corn, soybeans and wheat with all crops planted no-till to protect the soil. The SWCD has assisted with the installation of many conservation practices including grassed waterways, subsurface drains, grade stabilization structure, cover crops, rotational grazing, fence, water line, access road, heavy use pad, spring development, water tank and pest management. There are also 42 acres of permanent wildlife habitat enrolled through the CRP program. In addition to the 8 waterways constructed in 2012 and 2013, two more are planned to be installed next year. Because of the commitment to conservation this year’s conservation Farm Award goes to Esselburn Grain and Cattle Farm, LLC!
2013 Conservation Farm Award
Pleasant Corner Farms
Pleasant Corner Farms is a 325 acre dairy in Milton Township that is owned and operated by Duane Marty and his son Brad. They currently milk 110 Holsteins and have 90 replacement heifers. Crops include corn and alfalfa hay. A conservation plan and a comprehensive nutrient management plan is being followed on all the land. Conservation practices include crop rotations, mulch tillage, strip cropping, subsurface drainage and grassed waterways. In 2012 a waste storage facility, waste transfer, heavy use area protection and critical area seeding were completed. The storage facility is a 12’ x 120’ circular concrete tank which provides a minimum of 6 months storage. Because of their commitment to conservation this year’s Conservation Farm Award goes to the Pleasant Corner Farms!