COVINGTON — With the health of the planet at risk from various factors such as habitat loss or greenhouse gases, conservation efforts are on the rise — and a local family farm has been recognized locally for doing their part.
Dan and Tawni Batdorf, of Batdorf Farm Services in Covington, were winners of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ 2015 Conservation Farm Family Awards for their region. They were recognized during the Farm Science Review in London for their conservation efforts.
Conservation practices the family exercises include cover crops, which they have done for 10 years, cropped rotation, grassed waterways, no-till, and conservation tillage on their over 520 acres of land. Also lining their woods is a habitat buffer known as CP33, which provides vegetation for woodland animals to prevent habitat loss.
“I feel honored to get an award for something that everyone should be doing … it’s an honor that we were recognized for what we were doing,” Dan said.
The family farm has 320 Holestein steers that are sold for profit, as well as soybeans and wheat. Corn is grown to feed the steers. The Batdorfs are currently experimenting with different cover crops such as sunflowers, radish, and ryegrass.
Conservation farming has been practiced in the family since Dan helped his father on his farm, and invested in no-tilling. Dan and Tawni started their farm in 1987.
“It’s something we feel we need to do to conserve the land,” Dan said. “We need to be stewards of the land and take care of it for future generations and conserve wildlife, too.”
The Batdorfs have hosted events on the farm, such as the 2015 Ohio No-Till Council Cover Crop Field Day that included over 135 people in September. There were four different stations demonstrating the different kinds of cover crop that can be used. Some of the guest speakers included Jason Weller, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service; Terry Cosby, state conservationist of NRCS Ohio; and Dave Brandt, a notable speaker on cover crops.
Their efforts can be seen easily. On the family farm, a sunflower field over 100 acres is a playground and dining place for many insects such as the Cabbage White Butterfly and the honeybee. The butterflies can be seen dancing and fluttering among the crops while the bees feed on the sweet nectar.
“(Farming) is in our blood,” Dan said. The Batdorfs have three children, including a daughter who is married to a farmer and a son who sells farming equipment. “Farming is kind of a way of life.”
Reach reporter Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.