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Awards presented at conservation district meeting

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RIVER AWARD: The River Friendly Farmer Award was presented during Tuesday night’s Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting and banquet. From left are Kyle Lund, conservation district vice chair; Steve and Judy Adams, award recipients; and Andy Ambriole, conservation district chairman.
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CLIMATE CHANGE: Greg Shoup, News Channel 15 meteorologist, speaking about how climate change affects farmers.
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CONSERVATION AWARD: The Conservation Farmer Award was presented Tuesday night to Joe Updike. From left are Janessa Updike, daughter, Teresa Updike, wife, Updike, Jamie Garriott, daughter, and Jason Updike, son.

By JENNIFER PERYAM - jperyam@h-ponline.com

Farmers who take steps to conserve soil and water were honored Tuesday night at Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District’s 60th annual meeting and banquet. The event was attended by 100 people at the Huntington County 4-H fairgrounds.

Kyle Lund, board vice chairman, presented The River Friendly Farmer and Conservation Farmer awards.

The River Friendly Farmer Award went to Steve and Judy Adams. The award recognizes farmers who manage their farms in an economically and environmentally sound way to help protect and improve Indiana’s soil and water resources.

Applicants must satisfy nine criteria related to erosion control, nutrient and pest management, livestock and manure management and management of non-cropland areas.

“Steve and Judy have been using a no-till conservation tillage method on their farms for several years,” Lund said.

They have installed grassed waterways, mini-dikes and filter strips along the streams on their farms.

“By using these conservation practices on their farms, they have helped reduce the amount of excess nutrients and chemical runoff from entering our rivers and streams,” Lund said.

Steve and Judy have three children and six grandchildren.

Huntington farmer Joe Updike received the Conservation Farmer Award.

He farms approximately 900 acres in which he raises corn, soybeans, wheat and hay.

“He uses no-till on his farms and has installed grassed waterways, rock chutes, a dry dam and diversion and drop pipes,” Lund said.

He also added filter strips along stream banks and seeds cover crops to help protect the soil and reduce excess nutrients from entering the streams.

“These conservation practices have helped to reduce soil erosion, improve soil health and protect the quality of the water in our rivers and streams,” Lund said.

Updike worked for the National Resources Conservation Service for 36 years. He started as technician and then acquired a District Conservation position, retiring in 2015.

He and his wife, Teresa, have four children and five grandchildren.

The guest speaker for the evening was Greg Shoup, News Channel 15 meteorologist. He spoke about how climate change affects farmers.

He said the annual mean warming over most of North America is expected to exceed the expected global warming mean.

“Temperature increases are expected to be responsible for declines in corn, soybean and cotton yield,” Shoup said.

He said climate change will increase precipitation during the spring and decrease during the growing season in the summer months.

“Irrigation will be essential for crop security. Crops will have to adapt to climate change,” Shoup said.