Jan 20, 2020 3:15 PM

Ellis Co. Conservation District announces award winners

Posted Jan 20, 2020 3:15 PM

The 74th annual meeting of the Ellis County Conservation District will be 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Rose Garden Banquet Hall, 2350 E. Eighth.

Evening activities will include a meal, provided courtesy of sponsors and the Ellis County Conservation District, election of two district supervisors and presentation of onservation awards.

The evening will conclude with entertainment by Bluegrass duo 80 Proof Alice.

The public is invited to attend this event at no charge. RSVP by Jan. 24 by calling 785-628-3081, Ext 3.

Award winners

2019 Wildlife Award: Bill and Brenda Klaus

The Ellis County Conservation District and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism have selected Bill and Brenda Klaus as the recipient of the 2019 Wildlife Habitat Award.

Bill has always enjoyed wildlife when either hunting with family and friends or having the ability to watch it in his backyard.  In 2006, Bill started putting together plans for installing two wildlife windbreaks on his property.  The spring of 2007 Bill met with the local NRCS office to finalize his plans.  A four-row windbreak was installed along with a smaller three-row windbreak on his property consisting of over 600 plants.  The windbreaks allow for shelter for the wildlife along with a food source for them with the plums that were planted on both sides of the larger windbreak.  Weed barrier was installed to help with the weed control and a drip irrigation system was also installed to assist in the survival of the plantings.  Over the first few years several cedars and shrubs had to be replanted to prevent gaps in the windbreaks.  Bill mentioned the plums have really taken off lately and formed nice thickets for the wildlife.

The next step in transforming his property for wildlife habitat began with the seeding of half of the cropland acres to a grass and forb mix in 2014.  The next year following wheat harvest, the wheat stubble was sprayed and used for cover to drill the same grass and forb mix to the remaining cropland acres in 2015.  He mows areas to allow the wildlife areas to grow reducing the thick thatch that forms from several years of grass growth with no maintenance.  

In the future Bill would like to plant some food plots to allow for the wildlife to utilize.  He is amazed at how the variety and abundance of wildlife have shown up to their property.  Bill enjoys being able to hear the birds and on occasion to see the wildlife from his back porch.

The Ellis County Conservation District and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism are honored to present Bill and Brenda Klaus as the recipient of the 2019 Wildlife Habitat Award for their conservation efforts. 

2019 Conservation Award: Orville and Janel Moore

The Ellis County Conservation District has selected Orville & Janel Moore as the recipients of the 2019 Conservation Award.

Orville and Janel are the third generation to farm the Moore and Werth land.  Orville began his farm training as a young child running tractors for his dad and uncles when he was not in school.  He still recalls solo piloting his first tractor at the age of 13.  Orville and Janel have been married for 47 years and were blessed with four children Russ, Leigh Ann, John and Curt.  Janel mentioned harvest time is always enjoyable as the kids come out to help and the 13 grandchildren ranging from 16 years old to a set of 4-year-old twins enjoy spending time in the harvest field.

Orville is no stranger to conservation as he has worked with his father, Millard, for over 50 years in the soil conservation construction business and as a farming partner.  All of their land is terraced to reduce the soil erosion.  Most terraces drain into waterways to get the excess moisture safely off of the fields.  Orville also installed two tile outlet terraces which drain down a pipe to a bubble up riser.  These were installed on some sandy soil next to an old sandpit allowing for the safe outlet of water on unstable soils.  

Their farming operation is a wheat, sorghum, fallow rotation.  Orville has been utilizing no-till on his cropland acres for several years which has removed the need to rebuild terraces due to the soil not being disturbed.  He has tried cover crops in the fallow year to allow live roots growing in the soil to reduce soil erosion.  Soil sampling is another tool Orville likes to utilize to prevent the over fertilization and runoff of unnecessary nutrients into our valuable water supply.

Orville and Janel also run a cow-calf operation and have four horses and one mule.  They lightly stock their rangeland to prevent the over grazing of their pastures.  Over the years pit-ponds and dams were installed on their pastures to retain water for the livestock.

Their future goals for their land is to retain the maximum amount of moisture received with the least amount of runoff possible.  He stated they are stewards of the land for a short period of time and they want to pass it on in prime condition. 

The Ellis County Conservation District is honored to present Orville & Janel Moore with the 2019 Conservation Award for their conservation efforts. 

2019 Windbreak Award: Jay and Janea Dinkel 

The Ellis County Conservation District has selected Jay and Janea Dinkel as the recipients of the 2019 Windbreak Conservation Award.

In 2010, Jay and Janea purchased the piece of land they call home from Janea’s grandmother Stella Sander. Jay was already planning on what he wanted to do for their shelterbelt.  Energy savings, visual barrier, wildlife habitat and dust protection were some of the goals in planning the windbreak.  In 2011, with the help of family and friends, Jay and Janea planted their four-row windbreak consisting of cedars on the north two rows, hackberry on the third row and the south row of sandhill plum and fragrant sumac. The nearly 700 trees and shrubs were all planted by hand in holes that were drilled with a post hole digger mounted on back of a tractor.  Once the trees were planted the weed barrier was installed by trenching on both sides of the tree rows and rolling out the barrier by hand.  Finally, the drip irrigation system was installed to help with the watering of the massive planting.  

Over the first season of tree growth nearly half of the trees died.  Jay felt it was due to the very dry conditions and not wanting to drain the water well which was needed for the cattle also.  700 plants take a bunch of water to survive the harsh hot winds and drought.  After replanting the dead trees and shrubs in the spring of 2012 they lost half of those.  He felt it was again from the drought but was seeing improvements with the drip system.  Jay didn’t know what rodent or critter was needing a drink, but he was missing the top half of most of the 6000 ft of drip line.  He buried old sinks at the ends of the tree rows to allow the wildlife some water and his drip irrigation issues stopped.  The hackberry was the hardest to keep going with the major wind storms.  Pruning has helped with the hackberry and some support when necessary.

The windbreak is maintained by removing dead trees and replacing with new trees to reduce the possibility of gaps in protection.  Weed barrier has been trimmed back from the trunks to prevent the girdling of the trees.  The windbreak will be sprayed in the spring as some bag worms have shown up in the cedars.

Jay and Janea are very proud of what the windbreak has grown to be and made certain to point out the fact without the help of friends and family this project would not be the success it is today.

The Ellis County Conservation District is honored to present Jay and Janea Dinkel with the 2019 Windbreak Conservation Award.