Annual awards were presented recently by the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District office.
Andrew and Bruce Lauber of A & B Farms were named Cooperators of the Year.
The award is presented to the cooperator who puts into practice the best variety of conservation techniques that are evident when looking at the operation and property. The winner should have an attitude that shows dedication to conserving natural resources.
The Laubers began working with the Fulton SWCD in 2009 when they entered the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). They operate a 260-head sheep operation on 36 acres of intensively-grazed pasture. The Laubers have installed 7,500 feet of wire fence to create a seven-paddock rotation grazing system. The pastures are seeded with grasses and legumes to maximize the sheep production and still protect the steep slopes of their farm from water and wind erosion.
They have drilled a new well for livestock water and installed a heavy use area to keep livestock off the pastures when the soil is saturated, thus preserving the soil and promoting good animal health.
They have installed 800 feet of road to facilitate easier access to the pastures without causing erosion and compaction by vehicular traffic.
The 2011 Booster of the Year award went to Walt and Donna Lange.
The award is presented to an individual or group that has greatly benefited the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District by supporting and promoting the district’s various programs.
From 1996 to 2003, Walt served as an associate supervisor for the SWCD Board of supervisors. From 2003 to 2005, he served as a supervisor on the Fulton SWCD board, and was chairperson in 2005.
Walt started attending the Fulton County SWCD meetings as a tree farmer interested in sustainable forestry and conservation in general. He took a tree farm sign to a meeting in early 1997 and suggested that the board might consider such a sign to advertise various conservation practices.
They expressed an interest and he volunteered to do the leg work to come up with a design using the board logo and a way to identify various practices.
In 1998 Walt suggested that Fulton SWCD sponsor a “Woodland Workshop” and one was scheduled at the Fulton County Sportsman’s Club.
The program has expanded since the first workshop and now includes seven northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts. It is known as the Northwest Ohio Woodland and Wildlife Family Festival.
In 2010, the Langes property was known as the Ohio Tree Farm of the Year.
The CREP Achievement Award is presented to the landowner who has implemented a variety of conservation practices within the CREP program. This year’s winner is the Northwest Ohio Rails to Trails program with 17.5 acres in the CREP program. The practice installed is an oak savanna.
The trails group helped install trees and influenced others to enroll in the same program.
Bill Shininger and Todd Studenka were elected to three-year positions on the Board of Supervisors, beginning Jan. 1, 2012.