Lill family honored with 2016 Conservation Farm Family Award

conservation award 2016The Ohio Department of Agriculture today recognized five families representing each region of the state as winners of the 2016 Conservation Farm Family Awards at the Farm Science Review in London. This was the 33rd year of the awards program.

“Farmers were the first conservationists, and to this day the conservation efforts they employ will allow the land to be the most productive it can be to provide food, fiber and fuel for generations to come,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels. “I am proud of each of these families for being good neighbors, handling the land with care, and helping to responsibly keep food and agriculture a top ranking industry in Ohio.”

The five families honored were: Robert Lill of Marion County; Justin and Lowell Wolff of Medina County; Edward and Karen Bay of Guernsey County; William and Shauna Wilkins of Miami County; and Tim and Sandy Shoemaker and Howard Grabill of Highland County.

“Each of the five farming families we recognized operates in a different geographic area of Ohio, with differing acreages, soils, and topography,” said Kirk Hines, chief of the department’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation. “They each have a unique mixture of crops and livestock. Each farm has its own management challenges and goals. They share a common commitment to conserve natural resources; the soil, water, woodlands, and wildlife on the land they farm. Every farm and family is unique but conservation is the foundation of their livelihoods.”

Robert Lill of Lill Family Farms has more than 1,400 acres in Marion County. Major crops include soybeans, corn, and wheat. He has been a district cooperator with the Marion SWCD for more than 50 years.

Lill has converted naturally wet ground to a 4.4 acre wetland surrounded by 1.8 acres of mature prairie that is enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program. No-till has been a regular practice on the farm since 1986. He received the Outstanding Cooperator Award from the Marion SWCD for being one of the first farmers in the Marion area to use the practice.

Lill is committed to sustainable agriculture to address problems on his farm through no-till, crop residue management, crop rotation and grass waterways to protect water quality and soil erosion. The Lill Family Farm has been in the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation Program since 2011.

When asked to describe their conservation philosophy, Robert said, “A model farm in Marion County- Putting words to actions!”

Since 1984, the Conservation Farm Family Awards program has recognized 171 Ohio farm families for their exemplary efforts conserving soil, water, woodland, wildlife and other natural resources on the land they farm. Conservation farm families also host a variety of educational programs, opening their farms to schools, scout groups, farm organizations and others.

In addition to receiving $400 each from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the families were also featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer magazine and received plaques from ADS Hancor Inc. Ohio Farmer magazine has sponsored the Ohio Conservation Farm Family Awards since the program’s inception. Nominations are sought annually between January and May, and Ohio farming families are encouraged to apply. For more information or to apply individuals can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

About Marion Online News

Marion Online is owned and operated by the (somewhat) fine people at Neighborhood Image, a local website design and hosting company. We know, a locally owned media company, it's crazy. To send us information, click on Contact Us in the menu.