December 17, 2014

OSCD recognizes outstanding soil conservation accomplishments

By Annette Tait

The OSCD 2014 Conservation Achievement Award was presented to Rick and Renae Schmidt for their innovative efforts on their own property and their work to promote soil conservation in Oliver County.
When presenting the award, OSCD Supervisor LeAnn Harner noted that the Schmidts started “at ground zero” when the purchased their property in 1997.
“They’ve built a diversified operation literally from the ground up,” Harner said. “Rick uses rotational grazing for his beef cattle and registered Suffolk sheep. All cropland is no-till, with a rotation that includes corn, peas, wheat, alfalfa and cover crops.”
Harner related a story about a cover crop demonstration plot Schmidt allowed OSCD to plant in one of his fields along Highway 25.
“If you remember the year he planted a cocktail mix that included sunflowers as part of the ten crops -- you could drive by and see the individual sunflower plants sticking up far above what looked like a mess below,” Harner said, smiling. “Everyone thought that Rick had the poorest crop of sunflowers ever seen in Oliver County, but he just took it all in good humor and used it as an educational tool to show the variety of cover crops and explain how they each played a role in soil health.”

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