Not even one of the snowiest Februarys in memory could keep the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District from holding their annual meeting at the Franklin County High School near Brookville a few days ago. The snow did delay the meeting for a week, as eastern Indiana took a hard hit from the last two waves of snow in February. But when the snow cleared and the new meeting date arrived, more than 120 people attended the meeting.
It was a pleasure to represent Indiana Prairie Farmer by speaking at the meeting. But most gratifying was seeing farmers and others who I've met before, but who were now on their home turf, conducting business and receiving awards for their work. For example, Phil Wendel and his wife were recognized for being awarded a friend of conservation award by the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts at their annual conference in Indianapolis in January. Chairman Michael Schwab introduced them to the hometown crowd, and thanked them for their efforts.
It was a special treat to see Lance Cox, whom I had interviewed some 28 years ago. Not recognizing him at first, Cox pulled out the magazine that an article including him appeared in. He even still had the letter I had sent him along with the complimentary issue to thank him for helping on the story.
Back then, he was figuring out how to dribble nitrogen onto his no-till corn to conserve more of it compared to broadcasting it on top. The article included a picture of him in a cornfield. He's aged gracefully, like the rest of us!
Today, Cox says he still no-tills. But now he injects nitrogen fertilizer below the surface. Most researchers today say that's the best way to reduce potential nitrogen losses in no-till situations. When N is applied on top, some is tied up with the stalks. When it's injected under the soil surface, more is held there. Liquid 28% nitrogen isn't subject to volatilization losses like it is when it's left on top.
Franklin County SWCD even got local youth involved. Cox chaired a poster contest which garnered more than 200 entries. He presented trophies and cash awards and certificates to many elementary and junior high school students who came to the meeting with their parents.
Congratulations to all the good folk in Franklin County for all they do for soil conservation and agriculture.