PONTIAC – The 73rd annual meeting of the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District included the election of directors and the presentation of various conservation awards.
Those nominated for directors included Lee Bunting, Gary Bressner and Tom Yoder. Service awards were given to Yoder for 10 years of service, Bunting for 40 years and Chuck Hanley for 35 years. Retired board member Bob Carroll was also honored for his years of service.
The Conservation Farm Family award was given to Wilken Farms of Chatsworth. The Wilkens grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 660 acres. John Wilken is active with the steering committee of the Vermillion Watershed project.
“Years ago, we got started with tile terraces and waterways. Now, we are moving to cover crops and more of a crop rotation,” said Irv Wilken, who accepted the award.
Partners in Conservation awards were presented to: Winding Creek Nursery, Jim and Ruth Ann Fulton, Cindy Kridner, Karen Jones and Eric McTaggert.
The Fultons serve on the Vermillion Headwaters steering committee and live near Saunemin, farming 690 acres. The acreage includes filter strips, strip till and no-till practices.
“We continue to work on conservation and to help improve our water quality and soils. Stewardship of our ground is something everyone should do,” Jim Fulton stated.
Jones is an assistant principal and teacher at St. Mary’s in Pontiac and a promoter of ag literacy. She serves on the Promotions and Education Committee of the Livingston County Farm Bureau.
“It’s very humbling to be a part of this. It’s a great organization and anytime that I can, as a teacher, promote agriculture in the county is great for the students and the future of our county,” she said.
Cheryl S. Harvey, senior advisor of public affairs and government relations with Enbridge, was the speaker of the morning. The company has a large presence at its terminal north of Pontiac, which sees 42 million gallons of crude flowing through every day.
“Enbridge exists to fuel people’s quality of life,” Harvey explained.
The company has invested $7.8 billion in capital to go toward renewable energy products. Harvey noted that everyday items are manufactured using refined petroleum products. She also spoke of a multi-layered approach to safety.
“The newest pipelines are built with the highest quality steel. We are continually looking for opportunities to reduce environmental impacts.”
In closing, Harvey reminded farmers or anyone planning to dig to call 811 first so any pipelines can be properly located. She said Enbridge employees are part of one team, one company and a set of shared values which include: integrity, safety and respect.