SWCD holds 61st annual meeting
Osgood family presented farm award

Pictured above from left are members of the Huffmeyer family who received the 2010 Ripley County Conservation Farmer of the Year award last Tuesday: Kenneth and Jane Huffmeyer, Larry, Charlene and son, Bill Huffmeyer. Pictured at left are: Brian Evans, left, giving the oath of office to Jeff Meinders and Danny Geisler to serve on the SWCD board.

Wanda English Burnett

The importance of farming was highlighted at the Ripley County Soil & Water Conservation District’s 61st annual meeting held February 22 at the Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School. The meal was catered by Wayne’s Meats of Milan.

Keynote speaker Fred Whitford, Purdue Extension, kept the crowd on the edge of their seats as he demonstrated how things are seen in a different light, depending on the person looking at it.

Whitford talked about the importance of protected water, soil, and sustainability, and the farmer. He said the farmer helps everybody in the community and everyone helps the farmer too. The bottom line was that everyone’s job is important, from the farmer to the truck driver who delivers the food, to the person who buys and ultimately consumes it.

The Larry Huffmeyer family were honored for being the 2010 Ripley County Conservation Farmer of the Year by the Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD).

The Huffmeyer family farm belonged to Larry’s parents, Kenneth and Jane Huffmeyer, who purchased the farm in 1952. It has been farmed ever since. Son Larry and his wife, Charlene, who have been married for 32 years, are very active in all the farming aspects on the Osgood property. Their son, Bill, 25, also helps. The couple has a daughter, Sarah, 28.

Some history of the Huffmeyer’s farming practices was announced at the meeting just before the award was given. The Huffmeyers bought their first no-till planter in 1974 and still plant most of the 1300 acres of row crops using this method. The Huffmeyers also raised livestock - beef cattle and hogs - until the early 1990’s.

Larry and his son, Bill, work hard to keep the ground erosion free. They have placed many acres of the farm under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Nearly 11 acres of waterways have been installed with 6.7 acres of filter strips on his land. He has 13.6 acres which is used for quail habitat.
The Huffmeyer farm has approximately 150 acres placed under the Continuous CP and General CRP programs. Larry is also very involved in the application of cover crops on the row crop fields. In 2009 Larry incorporated turnips and radishes into the cover crop mix. Now almost 775 acres are put into cover crops each year.

Besides farming, Larry is a member of the Farm Bureau Board and of the St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Larry is hailed as a “model farmer for conservation,” due to his no-till practices, waterways, filter strips, cover crops, and wildlife habitats. “He is doing his part to conserve,” the SWCD noted.
Kim Jolly, Tim Schwipps, and Steve Franklin gave overviews of the 2010 year with SWCD. Some projects of the SWCD include a poster contest for all K-12 students in area schools, Ag Day at the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park, a new event in 2010, the career fair, which was held at South Ripley High School and 4-H.

Adult education in the county includes the no-till breakfast, spring cover crop field day, tree sale, fish sale, and equipment rental. Federal programs such as cover crops were highlighted.

Brian Evans served as master of ceremonies and thanked the Farm Service Agency for their continued help. Steve Thurnall accepted a plaque honoring their service. Thurnall noted that their agency took a hit this year when Melody Arney, program technician died suddenly on January 7 from a brain aneurism.

A seedling fund for The Melody G. Arney Memorial Scholarship has been formed through the Ripley County Community Foundation. The group needs to raise $5000 in the next five years for this to mature. Anyone interested in making a tax deductible contribution to this scholarship may do so by sending a check to Ripley County Community Foundation, Inc. For the Melody G. Arney Scholarship Fund, 4 South Park Avenue Suite 210, Batesville, IN 47006.

This scholarship will benefit a student from a Ripley County school who will be studying in an agriculture related field at college. They may be a graduating senior or a current college student. They must have lived in Ripley County during their enrolment in high school.

The SWCD held their annual election with Danny Geisler and Jeff Meinders taking the oath of office from Brian Evans.

Guest speaker Whitford encouraged farmers attending to tell people what they do. He said most people will never meet a farmer.

The evening ended with numerous door prizes given out from businesses. Jolly invited people to come to next year’s event and bring someone with them.