Soil & Water Conservation District announces awards and election results

SWCD supervisor Steve Davis (right) presents a plaque to retiring supervisor Howard Yoder in appreciation of Yoder’s 14 years of service to the board.

(Posted Oct. 21, 2022)

Nancy Denes-Sparks won the election for Madison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) supervisor. The election period ran from Aug. 22 to Sept. 20 with voting also available during SWCD’s annual banquet on Sept. 15. Denes-Sparks’s three-year term begins Jan. 1, 2023. Suellen Radabaugh also ran.

Three conservation awards were presented at the banquet.

Howard Yoder was recognized for his outstanding service as an SWCD supervisor. He decided to retire from the board after 14 years of working hand-in-hand with SWCD and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and leading by example with best management practices on his farm.

SWCD supervisor Bob Hunter (right) congratulates reprsentatives of the West Jefferson High School Envirothon team for being the top-ranked team in Madison County. Team representatives included (from left) advisor Mike Harkleroad and students Olivia Foreman and Graham Gardner.

West Jefferson High School students Olivia Foreman, Jessica Fling, Tennessee Jennings, Grace Kitchen, Graham Gardner, and advisor Mike Harkleroad were recognized as the top-ranked county team in the Envirothon or Southwest Ohio. The competition is an academic, outdoor team event for high school students that tests their knowledge in forestry, aquatics, current environmental issues, soils and wildlife. West Jefferson placed 15th out of 62 teams overall.

Brad Hughes (right), SWCD technician, presents the Madison County Cooperator of the Year award to Steve Denes of Denes Farms LLC.

Steve Denes of Denes Farms LLC was recognized as Madison County Cooperator of the Year. He prevents soil erosion, thereby protecting his productivity in several key ways. He enrolled marginal farmland in the Conservation Reserve Program; he keeps his soil cover crop residue with no-till soybeans and minimal till corn; and recently, he installed 2,000 feet of grassed waterways on his farm.

The banquet concluded with a video slideshow celebrating 75 years of soil and water conservation. For more information about conserving natural resources in Madison County, call SWCD at (740) 852-4003 or visit

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