COLUMBUS -- Ohioans have less than a month to nominate Ohio farm families who are leaders in the area of conservation for the 2013 Conservation Farm Family Awards, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The awards program is sponsored by the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Ohio Farmer Magazine.

The Conservation Farm Family Award program has recognized Ohio farm families since 1984 for their efforts in managing natural 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.

Five area finalists will be selected from across the state, and these finalists will be recognized at the annual Farm Science Review in September. They will also receive a $400 award, courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and be featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer Magazine.

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, annually contributing over $105 billion to the state's economy. Agriculture is the largest land use in the state, with nearly 14 million acres of farmland. Ohio's 74,000 farms have a large impact on the state's land, water, woodland and wildlife resources. Conservation and wise resource management enable Ohio farmers to maintain a continued balance of economic productivity and environmental stewardship.

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