Three vying for two seats on Soil & Water Conservation board

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(Posted Nov. 3, 2020)

Three candidates are running for two seats on the Madison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) board of supervisors.

The board 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 volunteer their time for three -year terms.

Madison County residents and landowners, firms and corporations that own land or occupy land in Madison County and are 18 years of age or older can vote in the supervisor election.

To request an absentee ballot, call the Madison SWCD office at (740) 852-4003 or send an email to gail.wilson@oh.nacdnet.net. Or vote at the drive-through election at the Madison SWCD office, 831 U.S. Rte. 42 NE, London, between 6 and 8 p.m. on Nov. 18. The deadline to vote is Nov. 19.

The candidates:

Michael Murry

Michael Murry, 1350 Plain City Georgesville Rd. SW, West Jefferson, recently retired after 48 years working for a farm equipment dealership in London and Urbana. He has been involved in agriculture his entire life.

Murry believes most people are aware of the importance of soil erosion and water management. When water gets to the ditches and creeks more quickly, problems may result unless plans are made. The community should know where the water is going and who will monitor it before the development happens, he said.

Murry would like to be a board supervisor to support his community. His profession has given him experience working with people of different opinions to find a solution. He said he is willing to compromise for the good of the people.

Murry and his wife, Valeri, have been married for 48 years. They have four children and nine grandchildren. Murry is a member of the leadership team at United Methodist Church of West Jefferson.

Steve Davis

Steve Davis, 1420 Linson Rd., London, is a lifetime farmer. He is active and semi-retired. 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.

Davis considers improvement of soil health as 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 very big factor in saving soil structure and health, he said.

While there is a lot of interest in no-till and cover crops, much land is cash rent. As this is not a quick fix, the landowner would need to be educated and contribute to the tenant’s costs to achieve better soil health, Davis said. Otherwise, the effort and time of the tenant will benefit someone else if the landowner changes tenants after five years to get a better cash rent price, he added.

Davis said he would like to be a board member to bring a fresh perspective, support change, and contribute his lifelong experiences in farming and raising livestock.

David Junk

David Junk, 6089 Junk Rd., Mount Sterling, is vice-chairman of the SWCD board. He has served on the board for six years. He is a life-long resident of Madison County and has been farming since he was 9 years old. He is retired from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Corrections.

Junk believes the most important natural resource issues in Madison County are keeping farmland tillable and keeping the water clean. He would like to continue on the board to stay involved with the ongoing issues.

With Bradford Creek in his backyard, Junk has planted trees along the stream and warm season grasses through the Conservation Reserve Program.

From his experience, Junk sees opportunity for improvements. To be successful, he said everyone involved needs to compromise on a working solution. He likes to look at both sides and conduct research before making a decision.

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