The Barton County Soil Conservation District (part of the Natural Conservation Service) held its annual Conservation Awards banquet Saturday night at Barton Community College.
The event doesn’t have the glitz and glamor of some banquets. There are more blue jeans than little black dresses.
But, that does not diminish what it stands for.
The awards are often referred to as the Banker awards since the prizes and annual district banquet are sponsored by the bankers in the county. In Barton County, agricultural producers and/or owners of rural property are nominated by family, friends or peers.
A committee made up of local and state officials, bankers and others involved in agriculture tour the nominated sites in October and vote on a winner. Sometimes, members of the committee can suggest a deserving candidate.
Sadly, in our halls of power, agricultural producers get a bad rap. Regulations limiting this or controlling that are passed to curtail the “environmental threats” posed by farming.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that many residents around here don’t understand farming. But one just has to spend a few minutes talking with a farmer, especially those honored via these awards, to have their minds opened.
These producers love their land. They are passionate about the profession.
Protecting the soil, the water and the air is important to them. First, their livelihood relies on these things. Second, they feel a bond with the world around them.
The 2012 winners are: Kenneth and Cynthia Bitter, Powell, Ohio, Soil Conservation; Dale Unruh, rural Pawnee Rock, and Roland Schmidt, Newton, Water Conservation; and Great Bend Feeding Inc., Water Quality.
These folks are to be commended for their efforts.