Continuation Conservation Award
Ronald G. & Marilyn Hiebert
Ron Hiebert and his wife, Marilyn, of Hillsboro have been conservationists for 42 years. They won a banker award in 1993. Hiebert worked with technicians when the current Natural Resources Conservation Service was known as the Soil Conservation Service. He owned a paddle scraper and did his own conservation work. He and his brother used the scraper to build waterways and terraces in cropland fields as they were designed by technicians. He continues to add to his list of projects, like the diversion terrace that was recently completed in conjunction with a neighboring landowner to eliminate a ditch that was cutting through their fields.
Young Farmer Conservation Award
David Rziha moved his family back to his roots in Tampa three years ago. They have established a 1,200-acre farm and a cow/calf operation. With the assistance of the National Resources Conservation Service staff, Rziha has implemented several rangeland practices including cross fencing, water supply, brush management, and prescribed grazing management. He also has applied conservation practices to cropland.
Don and Kevin Suderman
Don Suderman and his son, Kevin, of Hillsboro did not like the ditches that formed in their cropland fields after rainfall events. They wanted to keep the good top soil that was washing away. They installed 14.62 acres of grassed waterways, 45,175 feet of gradient terraces, and 801 feet of diversion terraces. They also planted eight acres of brome grass. The Banker Award is sponsored by Marion County Bankers Association and the Kansas Bankers Association.
Edith Unruh owns land in northwestern Marion County. Her son, Gary Unruh, decided in 2002 that it was time to close ditches and plant brome grass in those areas. Finding he needed assistance, he called the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Marion. They helped him lay out 20.8 acres of grass waterways and 23,894 feet of gradient terraces. Doyle Wiebe of Durham farms the land and uses no-till along with the conservation practices to almost eliminate soil erosion. Marion County Bankers Association and Kansas Bankers Association sponsored this award.
James Owens assists a calf in learning to find its mother’s milk on Woody Creek Farms northeast of Durham. He and his wife, Debbie, will receive the Rangeland Award. The Owens have used the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help improve their rangeland by removing brush and installing water supply. They also practice prescribed grazing and burning. The award is sponsored by Marion County Conservation District and Sharp Bros. Seed Co., Healy.
Gerald “Jerry” Rziha
Gerald “Jerry” Rziha of rural Tampa will receive the service award from Marion County Conservation District. He served on the district board from 2009 to 2012.
Conservation Teacher Award
Brian Stucky, an art instructor at Goessel Elementary School, will receive the 2012 Teacher Award. His students have participated in the conservation poster contest for the past 20 years. This year, students from Goessel, Hillsboro, and Centre have submitted 144 posters. The top posters in each age group will be entered in the state contest.
Farm Bureau Grass Buffer Award
Errol Wuertz, Jr.
Errol Wuertz Jr. of McPherson stands in a grass buffer on his land in East Branch Township. He will receive the Buffer Award, sponsored by Marion County Farm Bureau Association. He has established 3.8 acres of field borders and two acres of grassed waterways. He recently bought another property with filter strips and waterways already established.