Kennedy family named Conservationist of YearCAMBRIDGE -- On Nov. 4, the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District had its 68th annual meeting banquet and election. Blaine Neilley was re-elected to the board with 228 votes over the other two candidates, Russ Ables and Dan Speedy. Neilley was elected to serve a three-year term beginning January 2011 on the board which provides direction, oversight and fiscal accountability to the Soil and Water Conservation District. Board members serve on a volunteer basis.Current board members include Blaine Neilley, Carol Wheeler, Bill Bertram, John Enos and Marca Warner.During the annual meeting, the Conservationist of the Year award was presented to Ed Kennedy of Kennedy Farms. The Guernsey SWCD partners with Farm Credit Services to recognize producers who have shown a commitment to conservation of natural resources on their operations. Kennedy was presented with a sign, provided by Farm Credit Services, to display on his farm to show his accomplishment.Kennedy raises corn and soybeans in a rotation along with oats, wheat and some hay. In 2006, he diversified by adding a swine finishing facility. The manure generated from the finishing facility is utilized on crop fields where oats and wheat are grown. Kennedy follows a comprehensive nutrient management plan which is beneficial both economically and environmentally. Over the years, an agrichemical handling facility and roof runoff management has also been added. He has also worked with the district on plans for installing systematic tile drainage and grassed waterways to protect and conserve soil and enhance crop production.The Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is a political sub-division of the State of Ohio and covers the entire county. Soil and water conservation districts were first formed in the 1940s when concerns of soil erosion and the loss of our most productive soils became apparent after the Great Dust Bowl. Local citizens gathered together to form the conservation districts to educate and provide assistance to landowners in order to reduce soil erosion to tolerable limits. Conservation practices such as contour strips, no-till crops and grassed waterways have had a great impact on reducing soil erosion.Over the years conservation districts have evolved to include issues around land use, water quality, forestry and wildlife. They work with landowners, land users, other governmental agencies, and elected officials to solve natural resource concerns. Your conservation district can be a wealth of information. The mission of the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote through education and technical assistance the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. To learn more about the Guernsey SWCD, call 432-5624.