Archive for Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Conservation winners named

February 11, 2009

2008 Buffer Award Winners: John and Diana Corpstein

The Corpstein farm has been in the family since John Corpstein’s grandfather purchased the first land in 1898 from Mary Begley.

John’s uncle and father purchased the remaining farm ground in the 1940s from the Hall family. The Corpstein family continues to farm the ground today with last year’s crops being corn and soybeans. John and Diana currently own 360 acres in Leavenworth County and 80 acres in Atchison County.

In 2001 John and Diana gave up 21.9 acres of crop ground and placed it in grass strip buffers. The strips range in width from 90 feet to 120 feet and are placed on both sides of the stream that crosses the property. John said that crop prices were low at the time he decided to participate in the buffer program and land along the streams was prone to flooding causing a low yield at harvest time. The buffer program pays an annual per acre fee to the landowner for the grass filter strip installations. These installations provide filtration for water leaving the crop fields and prevent soil loss from the field along with a reduction in stream bank erosion. In addition to the reduction in silting from the fields, any chemical fertilizer leaving the crop ground will be captured by the grass filter strip and prevent it from causing a reduction in water quality in the adjacent stream. John and Diana have three buffer contracts that will expire in 2011.

2008 Soil Conservation Award: Harrod and Buchanan Farms

Herbert Harrod purchased the original 160 acres in 1919 and farmed it for the next 61 years until 1980 when he was forced to retire. At this time the management of the farm was given over to his sister, Bernice Buchanan. She still manages the farm today and has participated in several conservation programs to help protect the land. The most recent activity involved the installation of a pond with fence and an alternate watering facility for the livestock pastured on the acreage. All areas have been seeded and mulched to provide erosion control and pastures have been established throughout. Mrs. Buchanan currently lives in the home that she and her husband constructed in 1973-74 on part of the original farm where she continues her passion for reading, which she developed when she was a young girl. She also enjoys feeding the birds throughout the year from the deck on the back of her home.

In 1919 when the original farm was purchased, there was no electricity or rural water in the area. After World War II ended, Harrod went to Kansas Power and Light seeking the installation of a power system. They refused and he decided to go to Wichita to discuss the possibility of power with the Rural Electric Association. He was told that they would be happy to serve the area but because of the war, materials were in short supply. He then went to Washington, D.C., and met with legislators from the area and upon returning home discovered that his request had been approved. Because of his efforts, power was provided to the area and with power, water could then be pumped.

Harrod determined that with each farmer in the area paying $5, they could have rural water. He proceeded to collect the money and for those who could not afford it, he paid it himself. Of those, only one never reimbursed him the $5.

Soil Conservation Award: Dan Wolters

In 1995, Albert Wolters, Dan Wolter’s father, purchased 65 acres because he and his wife were both raised on a farm and they wanted to return to farm life. This didn’t work out because of health reasons and in 1998 the farm became Dan’s responsibility. He now raises beef cattle on part of the land while the rest is rented out for crops. Crops raised on the farm include corn, soybeans and sorghum. There currently are 19 head of cattle at the farm and he sells yearling calves at the Holton market. Although Dan does not currently live on the farm, he travels there at least weekly to check on and provide feed for the livestock. Conservation practices include waterways and both tile and gradient terraces. Dan understands the need to protect the land by installing and promoting these practices to protect the land.

The Leavenworth County Conservation District congratulates Dan on receiving the 2008 Kansas Bankers Association Soil Conservation Program Award.

Windbreak Award: Mike and Tammy Mikinski

In 1993, Mike and Tammy Mikinski purchased 10 acres adjacent to Mike’s parents on Loring Road. Plans were to construct a family home for themselves and their children, currently totaling two: a daughter, Madeleine and a son, Mitchell. The land had been crop ground and was in poor condition with a substantial crop of tall weeds. Mike wanted to be able to plant a variety of trees on the property as well as decorative shrubs and bushes. He began by establishing a cover crop of fescue and purchasing a variety of trees totaling 700 from Kansas State University in early 1994. They completed and moved into their home the next year and continued to plant a variety of items on the property. Today there are rows of Austrian pine trees backed up by a large number of oak and 150 walnut trees on the property. In addition to the trees, they have planted a significant number of golden current and honeysuckle, all of which they purchased from the K-State program. Mike’s only regret is that he didn’t put down enough weed barrier material when planting.

Soil Conservation Award: Larry and Theresa Lee

Larry and Theresa Lee own and lease or rent 750 acres. While both are full-time employees of the Kansas State Correctional Facility in Lansing, they manage to produce 250 acres of soybeans, 120 acres of corn, and 150 acres of wheat last year. In addition to the crops, they also have approximately 60 head of Angus beef cattle, several pigs and a variety of other “pets”, including 40 pea fowl and three dogs. Larry and Theresa indicate that the pigs and one dog belong to their son, Brian, who is at K-State planning to graduate in the spring with a degree in agronomy. As owner of the pigs, Brian is listed on the National Swine Registry, out of West Lafayette, Ind., and he plans to return to the family farm after graduation.

One other dog belongs to their daughter, Tiffany who is a fifth-year student at K-State studying to be a veterinarian. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Industry from Kansas State University in May 2008 and started her first year of veterinary school at K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in August 2008. Tiffany plans to work towards a master’s degree during her years in veterinary school. She also plans to obtain a PhD after graduating. She ultimately hopes to practice large animal medicine in western Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas.

Larry and Theresa have been in their current home for 25 years and have participated in conservation programs for many years. Practices currently installed include waterways and terraces. They both understand the importance of proper land management.

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