COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will acknowledge Ohio farm families who are leaders in the areas of conservation for the 2013 Conservation Farm Family Awards. The awards program is sponsored by the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources, Ohio Farmer Magazine and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

The Conservation Farm Family Award program has recognized Ohio farm families since 1984 for their efforts in managing natural and human resources while meeting both production and conservation goals. Individual farmers, partnerships or family farm corporations are eligible for nomination, provided a substantial portion of their income is derived from farming. The judging is based on the nominee's use of new and traditional conservation techniques, comprehensive management, individual initiative in applying conservation measures and the nominee's willingness to share conservation information, experiences and philosophy with others.

Nomination forms can be obtained from local county soil and water conservation districts or by visiting the division's web site. The forms must be returned by May 1 to Ohio Farmer Magazine, 117 W. Main St., suite 202, Lancaster, OH 43130.

Food and agriculture is Ohio's No. 1 industry, and agriculture is the largest land use in the state.

More than 60 percent of Ohio's land is used for crop production and pasture. Farming has a large impact on the state's land, water, woodland and wildlife resources. It is important to maintain a balance between agriculture's important contribution to Ohio's economy and the environment through conservation and wise resource management.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at ohiodnr.com.