Conservation of the Year Award
Received the first “Landowner, Tenant, Farm Manager Conservation of the Year Award” co-sponsored by the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Service and the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers on a farm in the Danville area that was highly eroded and had very poor conservation practices being followed. After constructing terraces, installing drainage tile and putting in erosion control structures and outlets, and changing tillage practices the farm had no loss of soil and the productivity and farmability improved while improving the water quality of water shed from the acreage.
Forestry Improvement Award
Received a Forestry Improvement award from the Sycamore Trails R.C. & D. Forestry organization of Western Indiana for work on timber management and reforesting a farm’s timber land. Also did extensive conservation work to stop a large loss of soil annually from runoff on hillsides, restored cattle pastures, enrolled high risk land into a wetland program with the USDA, establishing a very active waterfowl habitat.
Negotiated a settlement of a drainage dispute between adjoining landowners such that Russ was able to improve the drainage of two of his landowners’ farms and open up drainage for four other owners resulting in all adjoining owners being able to drain their land.
Developed a 5-year plan for improving a very good farm that was not optimizing the productive capacity of the land. Developed a four-phase drainage program to ultimately drain over 400 acres securing two new outlets for drainage that had not been pursued by prior management, improved soil health by implementing cover crops, eliminated liability by removing old buildings and upgraded grain bin storage. Created wildlife habitat and reforested a tract through the use of the USDA CRP program.
Drainage and Conservation Plan
Developed a drainage and conservation plan on a farm that had severe erosion as well as very poor drainage. Installed new tile outlet mains, secured an outlet across adjoining owners and pattern tiled several areas as well as stopped the erosion and loss of soil which improved water quality. Upon completion of the improvements the farm was sold at auction and held the highest priced sale for the area for nearly a year after the sale.