(Posted Aug. 18, 2023)
The Madison Soil and Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) 76th annual meeting and supervisor election is scheduled for Sept 14 at Der Dutchman Restaurant, 445 S. Jefferson Ave., Plain City.
Voting is set for 5:3-6:30 p.m. with dinner starting at 6 p.m. Up for election are two board seats, each with a three-year term. The board of supervisors consists of community leaders elected by county residents to give direction on soil and water conservation programs to address local natural resources concerns. Board members are volunteers.
The dinner menu includes broasted chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, homemade bread, and pie.
A special program will follow dinner. Mark Dilley, a wetland scientist and senior ecologist, will present “Wetlands: Dark Past, Bright Future.” He will talk about historic losses and the big push for wetland restoration in Ohio and across the globe. Dilley and his wife, Christine, are co-owners of MAD Scientist Associates, a company specializing in ecological and wetland consulting. He will share some examples of projects they have completed.
Dilley earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources in 1991 and a master’s degree, both from The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources. Dilley also is a lecturer at The Ohio State University, where he teaches wetland ecology and restoration. He is president of the Ohio Wetlands Association.
The annual meeting also includes presentation of conservation awards. Michael Hann has been named Madison SWCD Cooperator of the Year. The Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails will be recognized as a conservation partner. West Jefferson High School will be recognized for having the top-ranked Envirothon team at the Southwest Ohio Envirothon competition.
Tickets to the dinner are $20 ($10 for children 10 and younger) and may be purchased from any board supervisor, at the SWCD office at 831 U.S. Highway 42 NE, London, or via the agency’s website at www.madisonsoilandwater.com. Reservations are due by Sept. 8th. No tickets will be available at the door.
Board of Supervisors candidates
J.D. Bethel, Steve Davis, and David Junk are running for the two seats up for election on the SWCD board of supervisors.
• J.D. Bethel, 9577 Roberts Rd., West Jefferson, has been an agronomist at Integrated Ag Services for six years. Prior to that, he was at The Ohio State University, researching soybeans for four years. He received his master’s degree in weed sciences at Ohio State. He helps his parents farm in Mechanicsburg. He and his wife, Wendy, enjoy bicycling, traveling, and gardening.
Working with farmers on a daily basis, Bethel sees soil erosion as the most important resource concern. He is interested in serving on the board because he supports SWCD’s work. He has done a lot of tiling and waterways on his parents’ farm and has seen the value.
• Steve Davis, 1420 Linson Rd., is the current chairman of the SWCD board. He has served on the board for three years. He raises registered Angus cattle and had a purebred hog business for 30 years. He has cut back on his herd but still maintains about 15 cows. He is a Newport United Methodist Church board member.
Davis considers improving soil health to be the biggest natural resource opportunity. He has seen reduced soil tilth from when he was a teenager as a result of conventional farming practices today. No-till and cover crops could be a major factor in saving soil structure and health, he says.
Davis would like to continue serving on the board to support positive change and contribute his lifelong experiences in farming and raising livestock.
• David Junk, 6089 Junk Rd., Mount Sterling, is a member of the SWCD board. He has served for nine years. He is a life-long resident of Madison County and managed the family farm most of his life. He is a lieutenant in the Range Township Fire Department. He retired from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Corrections. He has an associate’s degree from Columbus State Community College and a bachelor’s degree in business from Urbana University.
Junk would like to see farmland preserved and Madison County maintain its productive soils. He has planted trees along his stream and warm season grasses through the Conservation Reserve Program. He encourages interaction between different agencies and organizations when making decisions about local natural resources.