Ray-Nor Farms earns recognition

Elizabeth Finke, Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor, stands near a buffer strip with her daughter, Olivia, and Chris Jacobs of Ray-Nor Farms. The strip of big and little bluestem, Indian grass, and native flowers was planted four years ago to improve water quality in the creek and provide habitat for wildlife. Ray-Nor Farms was selected as SWCD’s Cooperator of the Year.

Each November, the Madison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) hosts a banquet to recognize people in the county who help to protect natural resources. This year’s banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 10 E. Fourth St., London.

One of the top awards, "Cooperator of the Year," recognizes outstanding conservation achievements by individuals working with the local Soil and Water Conservation District.

This year, the award will be presented to Ray-Nor Farms Inc. The father, John Jacobs, has passed away. Chris, his son, will accept the award. They farmed in Paint and Range townships in the Deer Creek Watershed.

John Jacobs was a good neighbor to others and, with his son, he cooperated with SWCD to plant native grass along crop borders for quail habitat, native grasses along creeks to improve water quality, and grass waterways to control gully erosion. The family maintains the conservation ethic started by John.

Also, for the first time, SWCD will give "Best Construction Sites of 2008" certificates to sites that followed their stormwater erosion control plans during construction. Often, seeding and stabilizing soil are the last things that either the developer or contractor wants to spend money on. This year, Edinburgh Cove (Maxine Mitchell and Rick Forrest) and Life in Christ Fellowship Church (Doug Pyles and Rod Archer) placed a priority on stopping erosion.

The banquet also will include the recognition of the high school Envirothon winners, recognition of retiring supervisor, Christie Wilson, and a presentation on "America’s Bird – Bald Eagles in Ohio" by guest speaker, Gary Comer Jr., assistant wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Tickets to the conservation banquet, priced at $14, are available at the Madison SWCD Office. For more information, call 740-852-4004.

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