SWCD supervisor election

SWCD supervisor election

Soil and Water Conservation District boards of supervisors are unique in that they are publicly elected officials that serve on a volunteer basis to direct SWCD programs and oversee staff and finances. We have been blessed with wonderful supervisors here in Holmes County who have provided leadership and guidance as we strive to conserve the soil and water resources of Holmes County. The supervisor election process for Holmes SWCD is underway now until Tuesday, Nov. 16 when the election will close at our annual meeting.

Each SWCD election occurs over a 30-day voting period. Individuals who own or occupy land within the Holmes County Conservation District and are 18 years of age or older may vote for supervisor. Three candidates are running for two supervisor positions with a 3-year term beginning January 1, 2022. The three candidates are:

Jason Biltz is a Millersburg resident and is a current SWCD supervisor. He grew up surrounded by the farming industry and has always loved the outdoors, and his parents started “Black Creek Nursery” in Glenmont when he was young.

Conservation practices installed on his family’s land include grapevine control and invasive species control. The Biltz family operates Sweet Fire Sugar Bush, a 1,000-tap maple syrup operation that sells a variety of maple syrup products online and at farmer’s markets.

He earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2012 from the Boy Scouts of America program. Jason graduated from The Ohio State University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a minor in Surveying. He began working at Tekton Engineering, LLC, Berlin in May 2018.

When asked why he wants to remain as an SWCD supervisor, Jason responded, “To help promote and educate the citizens of Holmes County about the power of resource management techniques and environmental conservation programs.”

Chris Rickly grew up in a farming family and is a lifelong resident of Holmes County. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in business. For the past 10 years he has managed Loder Farms where they grow corn and soybeans utilizing minimum/no-till practices and cover crops. They have used waterways, buffer strips, drainage tile and cover crops on their land. When asked why he would like to be an SWCD supervisor, Chris said, “I would like to help promote conservation of our soil and water resources for the benefit of agriculture and our community.”

Jason Shumaker of Shreve works at Ohio Ag Equipment in Ag Equipment Sales. He is currently an SWCD supervisor. He & his family farm in Ripley Township. Their operation consists of a cow/calf beef herd in addition to crops. As for conservation practices implemented, they farm primarily no-till and utilize cover crops as well.

When asked why he wants to continue as an SWCD supervisor, Jason responded, “To promote the values and ethics that the board represents. I want to work to get the farm community involved and informed as to how conservation practices can help their farms.”

Jason and his wife, Jen have a son, Brayden and a daughter, Chloe.

There are three ways a person can vote for Holmes SWCD supervisor:

1: In-person voting event at the SWCD annual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 5:45-7:15 p.m. at the Carlisle Inn, Walnut Creek;

2: In-person at the SWCD office, 62 W. Clinton St, Millersburg, during business hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed Nov. 11 for Veteran’s Day);

3: By requesting an absentee ballot by phone (330-674-2811, ext. 3) email (holmes.swcd@gmail.com) or mail (62 W. Clinton St, Millersburg OH 44654) or by any other means.

All are invited to attend the Holmes SWCD annual meeting, to be held Tuesday, Nov. 16 at the Carlisle Inn, Walnut Creek. The doors will open at 5:45 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30. Dinner features salad, chicken, roast beef, noodles, green beans, assorted desserts and drinks. The Conservation Farm Award will be presented to Sweet Breeze Farms & Excavating. Randy Carmel, president of the Killbuck Watershed Land Trust, will be presented the Friend of Conservation award. Essay contest winners and FFA poster contest winners will be recognized as well. Tickets are only $6 for children ages 3-12 and $14 for adults. Contact Holmes SWCD at 330-674-2811, ext. 3 before Nov. 9 to buy tickets or go to HolmesSWCD.com to buy them online (a transaction fee applies).