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Ohio's Top Conservation Farmers Honored

award winners


Shelby Croft, (614) 752-9817, shelby.croft@agri.ohio.gov



Winners Recognized during Farm Science Review

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 22, 2022) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture recognized five families as winners of the 2022 Conservation Farm Family Awards at the Farm Science Review in London.

The five families honored were: Settlage Farm, Auglaize County; Baltes Farm, Mahoning County; Felumlee family, Claylick Run Farm, Licking County; Branstrator Farm, Warren County; and Brown Family Farm, Highland County.

"We are proud to join with our conservation partners to honor these five special families who have made conservation the foundation of their operations," said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda. "Although many farmers are conservation-minded, these families have blazed a conservation path to which others may aspire. Their actions are not only supporting the state’s strong agriculture industry, they are also helping to produce more in a way that preserves the integrity of their land for future generations."

“More than ever, farmers’ planning efforts and decision-making play a large role in protecting Ohio’s natural resources for the future,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist. “These families serve as examples of conservation stewardship and sustainable agriculture, and we applaud their actions.”

Since 1984, the Conservation Farm Family Awards program has recognized Ohio farm families for their exemplary efforts conserving soil, water, woodland, 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.

The families each receive $400 from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, are featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer magazine. Ohio Farmer magazine has sponsored the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Awards since the program's inception. Nominations are sought annually between January and May, and Ohio farming families are encouraged to apply. For more information or to apply, individuals can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

Area 1 Winner-Settlage Farm, Auglaize County
The Settlage family 500-acre farm in Auglaize County includes organic pasture, organic soybeans, organic corn, organic milk cows, heifers, and hogs. The farm is managed organically and is consistent with diverse crops, pasture, livestock, and woodland in conservation. Settlage received the Cooperator Award from Auglaize SWCD in 2021.

Area 2 Winner- Baltes Farm, Mahoning County
The Baltes farm is a multi-generational, 1,000 acre family farm in Mahoning County, which produces corn, beans, and wheat. The Baltes have long worked with the Mahoning SWCD and NRCS to implement conservation practices. Prior to joining the SWCD Board, the family worked with the SWCD to demonstrate their 5-6 acres of pollinator plots. The Baltes family has received the Cooperator of the Year from the Mahoning SWCD.

Area 3 Winner- Claylick Run Farm, Licking County
The Felumlee family owns and operates Claylick Run Farm in Licking County, which is made up of nearly 1,300 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa/grass hay, and beef cattle. Claylick Run Farm is an innovative family farm that takes pride in their land. They are conservation-minded in all aspects of their farm program. The Felumlee family is active in their local agriculture groups and was a 2018 Licking SWCD Cooperator of the Year award winner.

Area 4 Winner- Branstrator Farm, Warren County
Jon Branstrator owns and operates Branstrator Farm, a 175-acre corn, beans, wheat, rye, cover crop operation in Warren County. His 200-year-old, fifth-generation farm includes a pond, solar field, and pollinator-intensive cover crops. He is a regular partner with Warren SWCD at various education programs for agricultural professionals and has been recognized for his conservation efforts in 2001 as a recipient of the Warren SWCD Cooperator of the Year Award.

Area 5 Winner- Brown Family Farm, Highland County
The Brown family farms 1,200 acres of corn, soybeans, cattle, and sheep. They use multiple conservation practices on their first-generation farm and go the extra mile to care for the land. Nathan was named the 2018 Outstanding No-till Farmer by the Ohio No-till Council. The Browns were also selected as the 2019 Cooperator of the Year by the Highland SWCD based on their determination and willingness to improve soil health and water quality throughout their operation.

Picture Caption: (left to right) Felumlee Family, Settlage Family, Brown Family, Jon Branstrator, and Baltes Family pictured with sponsors:(back row, far left) Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (back row, second from left) John Wilson, USDA NRCS; (back row, far right) Matt Peart, Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts; (second row, far right)Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda; and (back row, second from right) Jennifer Kiel, Ohio Farmer.