NEWKIRK — Kay County Conservation District held its Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday, March 30, in the Kay Room of Kay Electric Cooperative in Blackwell.
Individuals recognized for their support and promotion of conservation included county cooperators, volunteers, and student award winners.
After a welcome by Board Chair Garold DeWitt, Vice-Chair Rick Jeans gave the invocation. Mallory Stolhand, voice student of Suzi Lenhart, performed the national anthem for the assembly. T.J. Greenfield, Mayor of Blackwell, greeted the guests and welcomed everyone to Blackwell. Joe Caughlin, Boardmember of KCCD, and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, recognized award winners and volunteers honored for their efforts in conservation throughout the past year.
The first award winners recognized were participants in the 2016 Poster Contest sponsored by Kay County Farm Bureau.
The conservation theme of the contest was “We All Need Trees.”
There were 333 entries from five county schools and one homeschool group.
Results of the Poster Contest were as follows: 1st Place Winners: Martin Engster, Madison Willaford, Tatiana Allen, Jamecia Hardman,Anthony Horinek, Ethan Coutre, Naviya Wilson, Chapman Stewart, Reid Schneeberger, and Chole Villarruel. 2nd Place Winners: Taylor Otto, Regan Friess, Tanner Otto, Adon Cornelson, Caleb Pilkinton, Taylee June Slavin, Madison Rutz, and Carley Taylor. 3rd Place Winners: Kinady Robinson, Autumn Wofford, Mariana Horinek, Dylan Nance, Cabrey Boland, Sheridon Beaston, and Jason Foster.
Kay County Grand Champion Poster Winner was Martin Engster, Ponca City West Middle School, and Reserve Grand Champion was Madison Willaford, St. Mary’s School. Reid Schneeberger, Madison Willaford, and Jamecia Hardman went on to winthe Area II Contest in their divisions.
The next award presented was the Kay County Conservation District High School Scholarship.
The $500 scholarship is awarded to a High School senior with an interest in agriculture with high academic, school, and community involvement.
This year’s recipient was Hunter Thomas of Newkirk High School. Hunter is the son of Sharla Phillips and Jim Thomas.
Mary Austin received the District’s Partners in Conservation Award. This award is presented to an individual or group for their outstanding efforts in promoting conservationwith the District throughout the past year. Mary has been an active Earth Team Volunteer for several years, volunteering with the District Essay Contest, the District Scholarship Committee, and the State Auxiliary Scholarship Committee.
The first Conservation Award presented was to Don and Sue Ann Priboth of Blackwell. The Conservation Awards recognize producers who are leaders in implementing conservation practices on their farms and ranches. The Priboths have been farming together in the Blackwell area for 22 years. They have a Black Baldycow/ calf herd and raise wheat, soybeans, milo and hay. Conservation practices implemented on their farm include no-till, crop rotation, cover crop planting, buffer strip planting, over seeding range with bluestem and wheatgrass, pond construction and maintenance, and proper grazing management and weed control.
The second Conservation Award was presented to Goodson Ranch, Tom Cannon, Manager. Tom has been farming in the Blackwell area for 40 years, 20 years as manager of the family’s Goodson Ranch. The farm and ranch consists of corn, wheat, soybeans, milo, nativeand improved pasture, timber, and winter and summer cover crops. Livestock on the ranch include cattle and chickens. Tom and the ranch have been involved in continuous No-Till for 20 years and have been managing cover crops with cattle for 10 years. Other practices include rotational and mob grazing, wetland and pond construction, food plots for wildlife, and numerous Natural Resource Conservation Service program involvement.
The Range Management Award recognizes a farm and ranch that has placed special emphasis on promoting conservation practices on grass and rangelandin addition to cropland. This year’s recipient of the Range Management Award was Triple C LLC and Caughlin Farms, Inc. These enterprises are managed by brothers Tim and Phillip Caughlin of Tonkawa. The farm and ranch is located in southern Kay County, southeast of Tonkawa. The brothers have been managing the 3,500 acres of farmland and pastureland for over 30 years. The grassland on the ranch is comprised of Bermuda, Plains Bluestem, and native grasses. Livestock raised on the ranch include an Angus and Simmental cow/calf herd. Crops grown on the farm include wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, corn and hay grazer. The brothers have been converting cropland to Bermuda grass in river bottom flood areas and have established over 200 acres of native grasses through the Conservation Reserve Program. Their future conservation plans include building several ponds as well as fencing on newly established grass and maintaining erosion and weed control.
The final producer/cooperator award of the evening was the Governor’s Award. This award is the highest honor to bestow on a producer inthe county for their conservation efforts.
As the name implies, the recipient receives a commendation from Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. Trey Lam, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, was in attendance to present the award to Don Jeans on behalf of Governor Fallin.
Don and Mary Jeans have farmed and ranched in Kay County for 57 years. Don’s livestock has included cattle, hogs, and sheep, with an emphasis on production of Angus bulls. Crops grown on the farm have included wheat, sorghum, soybeans, corn, oats, and alfalfa.Don has been an avid No-Tiller for over 20 years and believes in a good crop rotation. Recently, Don has started producing cover crops to help improve his soil health and is exploring forage-grazing utilization of his cover crops with his cattle. Don has also innovated in his use of chicken litter as a fertilizer source to help improve efficiencies and make use of a naturally occurring organic fertilizer. Don has participated in several state and federal cost share programs to help improve conservation practices on his farm and ranch. Finally, the following Earth Team Volunteers were recognized for contributing over 1,000 hours of volunteer service to Kay County Conservation District in 2016: Mary Austin, Nancy Bowling, Lester Brockmann, Susan Brunkow, LaVerne Byler, Megan Childers, Genny Coffman, Tracy Daniel, Cindy Dunlap, Curtis Grace, Bill Harney, Susan Henning, Michael Horinek, Theresa Horinek, Dianne Jeans, Melani Miller, Nancy O’Hair, Scott O’Hair, Joan Otto, Neal Otto, Mary Rhyne, Louise Rigdon, Leann Stafford, Larry Stafford, Jim Stone, Lonnie Stone, Lee Whitebay, Lynn Whitebay, Sandra Wicke, Linda Williamson, and the Kay County Conservation District Directors. Chair Garold DeWitt recognized the following individuals
and newspapers for their willingness to help promote conservation awareness throughout the year: Tina Anderson of the Blackwell Journal Tribune, Scott Cloud of the Newkirk Herald Journal, Steve Dye of the Ponca City News, and Lyle Becker of the Tonkawa News. Chair DeWitt also recognized Kay Electric Cooperative for the use of their facilities; Klein’s Catering for the preparation of the meal, and the many area banks and businesses that helped sponsor the event.