Participants in the Logan County Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) sponsored ag tour finished many more stops before heading home on Thursday.
The day started with a visit to Berlekamp Farms in Seneca County. The organic operation is owned by Steve Berlekamp and has been in his family for nearly 100 years. The “century farm” practices what is called biological farming, a practice focused on soil health and conservation.
The farm has raised tomatoes, sugar beets, spelt (wheat without gluten), and even tofu soybeans.
The next stop was the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center. The center is owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Francis convent in Tiffin. It has 300 acres under easement in the Black Swamp Conservancy which guests were educated about earlier in the week.
Mike Connor is the director of the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center and gave a tour of the area.
Listen to Connor talk about the center and the Seeds of Hope project.
The center practices natural farming and is heavily involved in conservation practices. They also work with the local job and family services to provide needy families with much needed employment.
An interesting project the center is working on is called the straw-bale house. The small house is designed to produce more energy than it uses. It utilizes a small wind turbine, solar panels, special foundation materials, and walls that are insulated with straw bales. The energy bill for the house last month was seven dollars. It is still under construction.
The solar energy system (pictured right) is a 16.5-kilowatt set-up. In nine months, it has made enough energy to save 25,089.33 pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere.
The University of Findlay Equine and Animal Science Complex was the final stop of the tour.
Veterinarian Mike Kerns (pictured top left), formerly from the Logan County area, was the guide for the facility. He says students are put through a real-world experience at the farm and believes the best way of learning is by doing.
Findlay has a heavy emphasis on neo-natal animal care. The mostly student-operated farm has usually 200 pigs, 25 cattle, and 50 lambs born each semester.
Listen to Dr. Mike Kerns talk about the unique operation at University of Findlay animal sciences.
The equine division of Findlay is focused around the Dale Wilkinson Arena, with about 150 students learning at the facility each year. Most students who attend the equine facility want to become a horse trainer.
The equine complex uses 2,000 tons of hay and 80 semi loads of bedding every year.
“Connections: Agriculture, Conservation, and Community” was very successful this year. Participants came away from the tour with a better understanding of conservation practices and their importance as well as the world of modern agriculture. However, it was the “connections” made between participants that truly made the event.