‘Conservation is now everybody’s job’


Miami Soil and Water District celebrates 75th anniversary

By Melanie Yingst - myingst@aimmediamidwest.com



Anthony Weber | Troy Daily News file photo Several handfuls of student volunteers from Miami East High School’s FFA program volunteered to help collect recycled tires for the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District, Miami County Agricultural Society and Kelby Transport in 2017 at the Miami County Fairgrounds. Here, Colton Kowalak, Lance Rohrbach and Michael Miller load tires onto a truck during Miami County’s Tire Recycling Day in Troy. According to Linda Raterman of the Miami SWCD, a tire recycle day is scheduled at least once a year and at least 1,800 tires are collected at the event.

Anthony Weber | Troy Daily News file photo Several handfuls of student volunteers from Miami East High School’s FFA program volunteered to help collect recycled tires for the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District, Miami County Agricultural Society and Kelby Transport in 2017 at the Miami County Fairgrounds. Here, Colton Kowalak, Lance Rohrbach and Michael Miller load tires onto a truck during Miami County’s Tire Recycling Day in Troy. According to Linda Raterman of the Miami SWCD, a tire recycle day is scheduled at least once a year and at least 1,800 tires are collected at the event.


Provided Photo Harvey Craft surveys land near an open ditch in 1957.


Provided Photo Left, Ralph Gray, retired conservationist and Kenneth Taylor talk on a farm in Miami County in 1956.


Provided Photo Kenneth Adams surveys a raw eroded bank on Penny Road, Newton Twp. in February 1969.


Provided Photo Captioned “Supervisors,” circa 1952. Front row from left, Herbert Schmidlapp and William Murray. Back row, Sam Studebaker, Donald Barbee and Donald Swank.


Provided photo A soil conservationist reviews a soil sample with a local farmer in a tobacco field near West Milton in a photo dated Aug. 5, 1969.


Provided Photo A soil scientist classifies soils in a tomato and corn field in Miami County on Aug. 5, 1969.


Anniversary contest

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the organization is hosting an artwork contest for local students to showcase the history and importance of agriculture and conservation within Miami County. The contest is open to any student in Miami County and a $100 prize will be awarded. The artwork will also be on display and used by the organization for its information displays. The deadline for the project is March 30.

For more information, visit www.miamiswcd.org.

MIAMI COUNTY — In the Dec. 18, 1943, edition of the Troy Daily News, a small announcement is buried among the dozens of World War II headlines of the day — the birth of the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District.

The organization is celebrating its 75th anniversary of providing assistance to local land owners to preserve and protect the soil and water in the Miami Valley. The organization was founded on a national level after the Dust Bowl devastated farmers in the Plains in the 1930s, which caused more than 850 million tons of topsoil to be swept away due to drought and poor farming practices.

The Miami County Soil and Water Conservation District was officially formed on Dec. 16, 1943, following a vote on Dec. 9 to create the district — with 96 percent in favor of the initiative.

Today the office is located at 1330 N. County Road 25-A, in Troy, and employs five people to serve the county with their soil and water issues. Staff, including drainage technician Gavin Alexander and district technician Jennifer Korte, helps provide the public with solutions such as drainage projects and conservation easements. The office also offers rain barrels and county plat books to the public.

The current board of supervisors are: Dan Batdorf, Don Hiegel, Andy Shuman, Diane Yingst and Jeff Shoup.

A LOOK BACK

The Miami Soil and Water Conservation District has scrapbooks of photos and news articles that reflect the organization’s dedication to conservation over the last 75 years.

The organization’s first board members were Emmett Brush, Springcreek Twp.; Bert Favorite, Concord Twp.; Dr. Harry Ronicker, Union Twp.; William Thompson, Elizabeth Twp.; and Ernest Weaver, Newton Twp. Favorite was the first chairman.

The office’s first employee was Ralph Harrod and the first newsletter was published in 1952.

The first Miami County conservation plan was developed for the 205-acre farm of Dr. Ronicker, at his request. The plan called for a four-year rotation of corn, grain, and two years of alfalfa-grass, strip cropping, terraces, pasture seeding and tree planting.

A highlight in the organization’s history was the election of Sam Studebaker Sr. as the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation District president from 1958-1959. Studebaker then went on to become the first Ohioan to serve as the National Association of Conservation District president from 1966-1969.

Studebaker was from Bethel Township and received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from The Ohio State University and a year of graduate work in education administration at the university. Studebaker was a high school principal and then superintendent of schools until 1932. Studebaker operated a 450-acre dairy farm near Tipp City.

According to Studebaker’s biography, “He was credited with bringing a new sense of unity and common purpose to the district movement during the period when diverse objectives and geographical difference had threatened the National Association of Conservation District.”

Studebaker was once quoted saying, “Conservation is now everybody’s job. It has changed from the former agricultural concept to one involving the whole community.”

CONSERVATION TODAY

The MSWCD has a variety of programs from educational opportunities, scholarships to tree and shrub sales and other activities throughout the year.

Linda Raterman, public relations specialist and educator, assists Miami County teachers as well as other youth groups in spreading the message about natural resource conservation and preservation.

“Education is vital in the area of conservation. We help educate 3,000 to 3,500 students in all of the county schools about what natural resources are and how they play a role in protecting their soil and water, too,” Raterman said.

Raterman said education opportunities align with school curriculum in a variety of areas and she brings many hands-on learning opportunities along with her to local classrooms.

Raterman presents groups with games, books and soil surveys to partner with the lesson plans.

The organization has a variety of models on-hand to help bring lessons to life, including: Enviroscape, Ground Water Flow, Stream Table and a Stream Simulation kit.

For more information, visit www.miamiswcd.org.

Anthony Weber | Troy Daily News file photo Several handfuls of student volunteers from Miami East High School’s FFA program volunteered to help collect recycled tires for the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District, Miami County Agricultural Society and Kelby Transport in 2017 at the Miami County Fairgrounds. Here, Colton Kowalak, Lance Rohrbach and Michael Miller load tires onto a truck during Miami County’s Tire Recycling Day in Troy. According to Linda Raterman of the Miami SWCD, a tire recycle day is scheduled at least once a year and at least 1,800 tires are collected at the event.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_170517aw_Tire_recyle.jpgAnthony Weber | Troy Daily News file photo Several handfuls of student volunteers from Miami East High School’s FFA program volunteered to help collect recycled tires for the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District, Miami County Agricultural Society and Kelby Transport in 2017 at the Miami County Fairgrounds. Here, Colton Kowalak, Lance Rohrbach and Michael Miller load tires onto a truck during Miami County’s Tire Recycling Day in Troy. According to Linda Raterman of the Miami SWCD, a tire recycle day is scheduled at least once a year and at least 1,800 tires are collected at the event.

Provided Photo Harvey Craft surveys land near an open ditch in 1957.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_SWCD1.jpgProvided Photo Harvey Craft surveys land near an open ditch in 1957.

Provided Photo Left, Ralph Gray, retired conservationist and Kenneth Taylor talk on a farm in Miami County in 1956.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_SWCD3.jpgProvided Photo Left, Ralph Gray, retired conservationist and Kenneth Taylor talk on a farm in Miami County in 1956.

Provided Photo Kenneth Adams surveys a raw eroded bank on Penny Road, Newton Twp. in February 1969.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_SWCD4.jpgProvided Photo Kenneth Adams surveys a raw eroded bank on Penny Road, Newton Twp. in February 1969.

Provided Photo Captioned “Supervisors,” circa 1952. Front row from left, Herbert Schmidlapp and William Murray. Back row, Sam Studebaker, Donald Barbee and Donald Swank.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_SWCD5.jpgProvided Photo Captioned “Supervisors,” circa 1952. Front row from left, Herbert Schmidlapp and William Murray. Back row, Sam Studebaker, Donald Barbee and Donald Swank.

Provided photo
A soil conservationist reviews a soil sample with a local farmer in a tobacco field near West Milton in a photo
dated Aug. 5, 1969.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_SWCD6.jpgProvided photo
A soil conservationist reviews a soil sample with a local farmer in a tobacco field near West Milton in a photo
dated Aug. 5, 1969.

Provided Photo
A soil scientist classifies soils in a tomato and corn field in Miami County on Aug. 5, 1969.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_SWCD7.jpgProvided Photo
A soil scientist classifies soils in a tomato and corn field in Miami County on Aug. 5, 1969.
Miami Soil and Water District celebrates 75th anniversary

By Melanie Yingst

myingst@aimmediamidwest.com

Anniversary contest

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the organization is hosting an artwork contest for local students to showcase the history and importance of agriculture and conservation within Miami County. The contest is open to any student in Miami County and a $100 prize will be awarded. The artwork will also be on display and used by the organization for its information displays. The deadline for the project is March 30.

For more information, visit www.miamiswcd.org.

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