Conservationists recognized at annual banquet
The Leavenworth County Conservation District held its annual dinner and meeting Jan. 30 at the Lansing Community Center.
Dorothy Klamm served a meal to about 90 people followed by a presentation on the upcoming Kansas Sampler Festival, which will take place May 1 and 2 this year, and May 7 and 8, 2011, in Ray Miller Park.
Blake Waters gave a slide presentation highlighting activities that are expected to bring many vendors along with an estimated 20,000 visitors to the festival.
Following the festival presentation, the annual business meeting and election were held. Billy Skeet was up for board of supervisor election this year. There were no other nominees for the position and after a count of ballots from those in attendance, Skeet was re-elected to the position.
The Annual Banker Award Winners were next on the agenda. Conservation awards were presented to Matt and Brad Tollefson, New Haven Angus and Mike Rayser. These three winners were awarded for conservation work on their land in Leavenworth County. The Water Quality/Buffer award was presented to Ken Buchholz and his son, Hunter. Kelly Hefton won the annual windbreak award but was unable to attend the meeting. Andy Friesen, wildlife biologist with Kansas Wildlife and Parks, presented the Wildlife Award to the Frank James family for its work on establishment and construction of wetlands on property in Leavenworth County.
Following the election, presentation of Banker Awards and adjournment of the meeting, drawings were held for door prizes. Prizes were won by Debbie Skeet, Austin Potter, Jim Hathaway, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Van Tuyl and Pearl and Faith Waters.
Kansas Bankers Association Award and Certificate
Brad Tollefson earned the award for his work on 75 acres along and adjacent to Stranger Creek. Brad and his son Matt purchased the acreage several years ago for crop ground. After assessing the property, they decided that work needed to be completed to stabilize the creek bank to stop head cuts in the crop ground and significant soil loss on the slopes. Through the cost share programs of both the Leavenworth County Conservation District and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, they were able to finance work along the stream to stabilize the banks and provide greater opportunities for successful planting and harvesting of crops. Throughout the process, attention was paid to the needed planting of a variety of trees and grasses in the area. In addition to stabilization of the creek bank, habitat was also created for the wildlife in the area.
Kansas Bankers Association Award for Soil Conservation
Mike Ryser received the award for managing his farm according to USDA practice standards to prevent erosion and to produce high levels of water quality in our streams, rivers and lakes. Ryser currently owns approximately 250 acres and rents another 250 acres for a total farming activity of 500 acres in Leavenworth County.
Kansas Bankers Association Award for Soil Conservation
New Haven Angus, represented by Loris, Damon and Bill New, received the award in recognition for conservation practices implemented on farm ground managed by the family. Under the practice guidelines, the farm must be managed according to USDA standards to protect the property against erosion from water runoff through the installation of terraces and waterways. Property viewed by the selection committee is located at Leavenworth County Road 29 and Tonganoxie Road. In addition to these 80 acres, New Haven Angus owns and farms other acreage in the county and is a significant producer of Angus Cattle.
Leavenworth County Conservation District Buffer Award and Water Quality Certificate
Ken Buchholz and his son, Hunter were presented the award, which goes to landowners who take farm ground out of production and plant grass filter strips and riparian areas to provide filtration of runoff into the natural waterways of the state. This filtration reduces the amount of silt and agricultural chemicals from entering the creeks, stream and rivers from farm ground and enhances water quality. The riparian buffer is made up of planted grasses and trees in the form of seedlings or nuts. The buffer on the Buchholz farm is planted with native grasses and six varieties of trees. It was first installed in 2003 and has been maintained according to USDA requirements since. Hunter, who will become a teenager this year, remembers when it was planted and understands the importance of clean water and the buffer concept.
Frank James and his family received the award and a framed print. The award was presented for the work that Frank and his family have completed on their farm in north Leavenworth County. Over the last few years, several hundred trees have been planted on the farm and within the last two years, the construction of two wetlands has been completed. Frank’s reasons for the work that has been completed include a desire for hunting and a strong belief in and the promotion of land conservation and wildlife habitat. Certification of the presence of Wood Ducks on the wetlands has already been accomplished, which is somewhat of a rarity in Kansas on larger bodies of water. Information provided by biologist Friesen indicates that these ducks will stay with the smaller protected streams and move with the advancement of colder weather. The fact that they elected to stop over on the newly constructed wetlands is somewhat unusual.
20-year service award
Richard Sachse received a certificate for 20 years of service on the Leavenworth County Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors. In addition to his service on the district board, Richard is a rural mail carrier for the post office and has extensive farming activities.
10-year service award
LeRoy Elder received a 10-year service award to LeRoy Elder for his service to the conservation district board. LeRoy is currently chairperson of the board. He and his father operate a large farming operation in southern Leavenworth County.