A Delaware County farmer was recently recognized statewide for his conservation efforts.
Brian Skinner, a Brown Township farmer, was named the Conservation Farmer of the Year by Farm Credit Mid-America during the 2014 meeting of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Skinner said the award is an honor, and one that he shares with his entire family, including his father, Gary, and brother, Darin, who both farm with him.
“It has my name on it but it kind of belongs to all of us,” he said.
On his 700-acre farm, Skinner participates in more than 25 conservation contracts under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. He also has two Conservation Stewardship Program contracts.
“If something looks like it will work in operation, we usually try to participate,” he said.
He has also been vocal about conservation, serving as a panelist at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, the Ohio No-Till Conference and several local events.
Skinner employs a number of practices in his conservation efforts, including nutrient management, integrated pest management, grassed waterways, conservation crop rotation, no-till farming and cover crops.
He said he believes deeply in conservation because he wants the next generation to be able to farm the land.
“Somebody left it to us in a very usable state,” he said.
Skinner and his family have been farming their Brown Township land for the past 101 years.
He said he hopes his family can continue to farm for years to come.
Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District spokesman Brad Ross said the key to making that a reality is conservation.
“Farmers that practice conservation know and understand the investment they make will return to them in the long run,” he said. “Using conservation practices like no-till farming and cover crops impacts everyone – these practices improve the soil for better plant growth, but they also reduce soil erosion and help keep pollutants out of our streams, rivers and lakes. By maintaining the health of the soil, they are maintaining the earth’s ability to produce quality food for us all for generations.”