Naturals at conservation

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Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
The Lohstroh family (in orange) accept the Conservation Farm Family Award during a ceremony held Sept. 20 at the Farm Science Review in London: (from left) Mark Smith with the Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service; David Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA); the Lohstrohs–George, Jonathan (holding Julie), Annie and Michelle; Matt Heitkamp with ADS Hancor Inc.; Adam Sharp with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; and Jennifer Kiel, Ohio Farmer editor; (at the podium in the back) Kirk Hines, chief of the ODA’s Soil and Water Conservation Division.

(Posted Sept. 26, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

When it comes to protecting natural resources, the Lohstroh family has its sights set on the future.

“We look forward to continuing our conservation efforts with our next generation,” said Jonathan Lohstroh as he accepted the Conservation Farm Family Award for Ohio’s southwest region with his daughter, Julie, in his arms, and his wife, Annie, and parents, George and Michelle, at his side.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) bestowed the annual award on the Lohstrohs and four other families around the state on Sept. 20 at the Farm Science Review in London. This marked the 35th year for the awards program.

“Ohio is very fortunate to have some of the most fertile ground in the country for growing a wide variety of crops, but none of that is possible if we do not implement conservation practices to take care of what we have,” said ODA Director David Daniels. “These families have gone the extra mile in conserving soil, water, woodland and wildlife on the land they farm, and we thank them for their dedication.”

The Lohstrohs farm approximately 1,000 acres in Madison and Pickaway counties. They raise corn, soybeans, pumpkins, wheat, hay, cover crops, and sorghum-sudan grass for baled silage. They also tend a 35-cow beef herd and operate a fall farm market that offers pick-your-own pumpkins, hay rides, and educational tours for school groups. For nutrient management, they use variable rate technology for precision placement.

The family has found many ways to pass along to customers and fellow farmers what they’ve learned when it comes to conservation. They talk to their fall market customers about where food comes from and the process of raising food in a sustainable manner. A pollinator exhibit on the farm shows the importance of bees. The farm also has served as a demonstration site for livestock exclusion fencing, Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) tours, pasture field days, a solar field day, Farm Bureau meetings, and educator workshops.

“Conservation is a multi-year, multi-faceted pursuit,” said George Lohstroh. “It takes a lot of people to get where we’re at and a lot of input from a lot of different disciplines.”

The family is always trying new practices on the farm. Some work better than others, but all are learning experiences, said Michelle Lohstroh.

“You don’t see the results always right away. You have to be in it for the long haul,” she said.

The Lohstrohs thanked the SWCDs of Madison and Pickaway counties and the Department of Agriculture for assistance with the family’s conservation projects.

The Lohstrohs received $400 from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and a plaque from ADS Hancor.

Since 1984, the Conservation Farm Family Awards program has recognized 181 Ohio farm families.

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