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Poyser, Fought Earn Conservation Awards

Published: Friday, March 15, 2019

Farmers and educators were recognized for their efforts and contributions to conservation last Thursday evening at the LaGrange County Soil and Water Conservation District meeting.

The adult conservation awards were presented by Gary Myers. Conservation Farmer of the Year was awarded to Chuck Poyser. The Poyser family has farmed in Wolcottville for many years. Over that time, they have gone from milking cows, feeding steers to raising beef. Today, they raise corn, soybeans and hay on 600 acres of land. Poyser grows alfalfa grass hay on highly erodible ground to prevent soil loss through erosion and sedimentation. The farm utilized the no-till method. Recently, they began using vertical tillage to help improve seed bed conditions in medium soils.

Parker Fought of Topeka was honored as Young Farmer of the Year. Fought grew up around farming his whole life and was a 10-year 4-H member. After graduating from Westview High School, he attended Blackhawk College in Kewanee, Ill. where he obtained a degree in agricultural business and agricultural production. In 2016, Fought began working on the farm full-time alongside his father, Randy. They grow corn, soybeans and hay, and raise beef cattle.

The Wisler family farm earned the title of River Friendly Farmer. Nathan Wisler accepted the award. The family recently adopted the use of cover crops, no till and reduced till for both corn and soybean production. The farm also carefully manages manure and fertilizers, and keeps livestock away from wetlands and bodies of water. The Wislers strive to improve land conditions and increase sustainability.

RD Wolheter presented the education awards. Sharon Bowen was named the Conservation Educator of the Year. Bowen taught second and fourth grade for 33 years at Shipshewana-Scott Elementary School in the Westview School District. During her time as a teacher, she was the school's science fair coordinator. Bowen also served as a SWCD supervisor in LaGrange County. In a school project, Bowen worked with Dona Hunter and Sue Schlemmer with the goal of improving a wetland area near the school. She assisted Eric Shmidt of LaGrange in earning his Eagle Scout award in another project.

FFA soils judging teams were recognized during the meeting. Members from Westview's junior and senior team were present. Both the junior and senior won the LaGrange County contest and the 11 county Area XI soils contest this year.

Members of the senior team recognized at the meeting include Paul Klopfenstein, Brandon Lehman and Cody Collyer. Michael Herschberger and Dale Borkholder were present representing the junior team. The teams are advised by Paul Baker.

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