SWCD recognizes several for efforts at annual banquet Feb. 26

James Minton (left) and his brother, Gary Minton, hold the River Friendly Farmer of Indiana sign that they will post on their farm. They received the Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District’s River Friendly Farmer Award at the SWCD’s annual banquet held Tuesday, Feb. 26, at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall on the Huntington County Fairgrounds.
James Minton (left) and his brother, Gary Minton, hold the River Friendly Farmer of Indiana sign that they will post on their farm. They received the Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District’s River Friendly Farmer Award at the SWCD’s annual banquet held Tuesday, Feb. 26, at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall on the Huntington County Fairgrounds. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

The Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District recognized several individuals who have taken advantage of programs to promote good management practices during its annual meeting and banquet held Tuesday, Feb. 26, at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall on the Huntington County Fairgrounds.

Awards were presented for the SWCD’s River Friendly Farmer, Conservation Farmer and 4-H Soil and Water projects. Andy Ambriole, chairman of the SWCD board of supervisors, said the awards are one way to recognize the dedication of landowners and others who have a passion for conservation.

“They take it to heart very seriously, and we sometimes don’t give enough thanks to people, and that’s what we try to do, is look around the county and see what’s being done,” Ambriole said.

The River Friendly Farmer Award was presented to brothers Gary and James Minton by Board Vice Chairman Kyle Lund. They were recognized for managing their farm in an economically and sound way to help protect and improve soil and water resources. To qualify for the award, they satisfied nine criteria related to erosion control, nutrient and pest management, livestock and manure management and management of non-crop areas.

Lund said the Mintons implemented a wetlands restoration project and a bottomland tree planting on their farm.

“These practices will help restore the function and value of wetlands, remove nutrients and sediments, promote carbon sequestration and help control surface erosion,” he said. “By implementing these conservation practices on their farm, they have helped reduce non-point source pollution and improved water quality.”

The Minton brothers will also receive statewide recognition on Farmers Day during the 2019 Indiana State Fair. Additionally, they will receive a certificate and sign for their farm that designates their status as river-friendly farmers who enhance Hoosier rivers, lakes and streams.

The SWCD’s 2018 Conservation Farmer Award went to Hanson Young. Young farms around 300 acres, in which he raises soybeans and corn.
“He uses no-till and minimum-till practices on his farm for residue management and does soil testing for macro and micro adding Young has also installed grass waterways, filter strips and field borders.

“These conservation practices have helped reduce soil erosion, and improved soil health and protected the quality of our rivers and streams,” Lund said.

Six members of the Huntington County 4-H program were announced as recipients of SWCD 4-H Soil & Water awards.

Nathaniel Alwine, Chloe Couch, Caeden Crider, Taylor Martz, Jonathan McMillan and Matthew McMillen received backpacks from Board Member Kandace Villanueva in recognition of their projects in the area of soil and water conservation.

The speaker for the evening was Extension Wildlife Specialist Jarred Brooke of the Department of Forestry and Resources at Purdue University, who spoke about how he turned his passion about agriculture, hunting and wildlife into a full-time job, and how important private land is in the state and the impact private landowners have in the decisions they make.

Brooke received a degree in wildlife management from Purdue and pursued a master’s degree in Tennessee, and studied bobwhite quail in Paradise, KY. He returned to his alma mater in Indiana, where he took a position as an extension wildlife specialist.

“My passion is really helping landowners meet their wildlife management objectives,” he said. “I deal a lot with landowners who are interested in management of deer, turkey, quail and pheasant.”

Also taking place at the banquet was the swearing in of officers Kyle Lund and Adam Couch to the SWCD board of supervisors.

SWCD’s regular meetings are open to the public and are held the third Tuesday of each month at the district office, located at 2040 Riverfork Drive, Huntington. For more information call the office at 356-6816 ext. 3 or visit www.huntingtonswcd.org.