Asher, Lincoln students honored at annual Conservation banquet

Published 4:47 pm Thursday, April 6, 2017

STANFORD — The Lincoln County Conservation District and the District Board is committed to taking care of the land and its resourses, and each year they make sure that those who work to promote conservation and those who create ways to celebrate conservation practices are honored.
Last Thursday night at Lincoln County Middle School, the District did just that, presenting numerous awards to the county’s leaders in conservation efforts and outstanding youth art and writing winners.
Raymond Asher, Jr., who owns a large farm outside Crab Orchard, was presented with the year’s Master Conservationist Award and the county and school art and writing winners received their awards at the annual Conservation District banquet.
John Benson, Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Technician, made the presentation of the Master Conservationist Award, recognizing Raymond Asher, Jr.,  for an outstanding job of incorporating conservation practices into his daily farm operations.
Benson said the Asher faming operation off Ky. 39, which also includes Asher’s wife, Patty, his dad, Raymond Asher, Sr., and son, Brent Asher, is proof that family farms still exist.
“While many believe that the days of the family farm are over, I beg to differ,” he said. “Nestled in a valley in Lincoln County, rests such a farm (Asher farm).”
“With creek bottoms, grassed hillside pastures, pristine forestland and a variety of livestock that varies from cattle and poultry. Of course, what family farm would be complete without the family garden, as well.”
Through various federal, state and local cost-share programs, Asher has made improvements to protect the natural resource base along with increasing productivity. The implementation of an Environmental Quality Incentive Program Contract has brought better management options to the farm with the installation of an improved and updated watering systems, providing a more efficient rotational grazing system. This system provides better pasture management and improved overall pasture quality and quantity.
Additional practices installed include permanent fencing of creek with the installation of a stream crossing to move both livestock and vehicular traffic. These practices allow the movement of livestock back and forth to pastures with a very low impact on the environment.
The Asher family operation also includes logging and lumber interests. Managing his forestland has been a lifelong commitment and it shows on the family farm.
“(Asher) had a long career with the protection of natural resources with the Environmental Protection Cabinet/Department of Natural Resources,” Henson noted. “This career has given him an opporutnity to carry on his appreciation even further. Along with his love of all outdoors and wanting to be able to protect and enhance the opportunity for future generations to enjob the outdoors, permanent wildlife plantings have been established through the Conservation Reserve Program.”
The plantings made by Asher provide food and nesting cover diversity along with the establishing of some of the original native grasses of Kentucky.
“This (Asher) operation is truly unique and diverse, proving the (Asher families’) worthiness and dedication, not only in protecting our natural resourses but our country as well,” Henson said, noting that both Asher Jr. and his dad are veterans. Asher Jr. served in Vietnam while Asher Sr. served in World War II.
The Kentucky Division of Forestry also made a special presentation  at the banquet, with Barry Michael presented the Kentucky Tree Farmer Finalist Award. Connie Woodstock of the Division of Forestry made the presentation.
While the adults in the community are the ones actively implementing and promoting conservation practices, the Lincoln County Conservation District is mindful of raising the awareness of the county youth to the importance of conservation to protect our land. To involve the youth, the District hosts its annual art and writing conservation contests.
The topic of this year’s contests was “Backyard Adventures: Exploring the Trees in Your Hometown.” Schools participating in this year’s contests were Hustonville, McKinney, Stanford and Waynesburg elementaries and Lincoln County Middle School.
Hustonville Elementary and McKinney Elementary each received a cash award from Steve Kelley of the Lincoln County Farm Bureau Federation for having 100% participation in the contests. 
The first-place county winner in this year’s art contest was Brady Brown. The 10-year-old artist, the son of Eric and Natasha Brown, is a fourth-grade student at Waynesburg Elementary School. Some of Brown’s favorite activiest are playing basketball, baseball and football as well as showing horses and 4-wheeling with friends.
Brayden Brown, the daughter of Keith Brown, is this year’s second-place county art winner. Brown, 8, is a third-grader at McKinney Elementary. She likes swimming, gymnastics and spending time with family.
Third place in the contest went to Stanford Elementary’s Kylie Nicole Jenkins. Jenkins, 10, the daughter of Brandon and Nicole Jenkins, is in the fourth grade at Stanford. She enjoys crafting, going to dance, playing soccer and hanging out with family and friends.
Justin Poynter of PBK Bank and W.C. Brogle, Lincoln County Conservation District Supervisor, made the presentation of the county art awards. 
Lincoln County Middle School eighth-grader Logan Isaac Mason claimed the top award in the Conservation District’s county writing contest, being named as the overall winner. Mason, 12, is the son of Frank and Linda Mason. Some of the activities that Mason enjoys are playing the piano, reading and being on the academic team.
Kaylie Cotter, an eighth-grade student at LCMS, was named the second-place county writing winner. Cotter, 14, is the daughter of Jessica Cotter and Matt Rodgers. Cotter enjoys volleyball and gymnastics and her favorite subject in school is math.
The third-place county writing award went to Abbie Cook, 12. The LCMS seventh-grader, the daughter of Scottie and Christie Cook, enjoys swimming, reading, acting, singing, spending time with friends, going to church and playing with her bunny in her free time.
Vickie Estes and Pauline Bradshaw of First Southern National Bank and Supervisor Brogle made the presentation of awards to the county writing winners.
Teacher awards were presented to Street Spoonamore and Kristy Johnson, teachers of county writing winner Logan Mason.
A special Teacher Honor Award was presented to Nicole Isaacs, who is a fourth- and fifth-grade science teacher at Waynesburg Elementary School. She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and has been teaching for five years.
Isaacs said she feels the students learn from the conservation contests and that this year’s topic was particularly valuable because its focus was on conserving trees around us. When she introduced the project to her students, they discussed the importance of trees from their production of oxygen to filtering pollutnats from the air and water, and that all were excited about the opportunity to exhibit their artistic abilities.
The presentation of the teacher awards was made by Steve Kelley of the Lincoln County Farm Bureau Federation.
The overall school winners in the Conservation District Art Contest, listed by their schools, were:
Hustonville Elementary: Dakota Richards, 1st, Desi Edwards, 2nd, and Riley Crawley, 3rd.
McKinney Elementary: Rayden Brown, 1st, Hailey Carter, 2nd, and Kyla Moore, 3rd.
Stanford Elementary: Kylie Jenkins, 1st, Gage Henderson, 2nd, and Elijah Johnson, 3rd.
Waynesburg Elementary: Brady Brown, 1st, Raeleigh Clark, 2nd, and Maritza Ruiz-Meneses, 3rd.
The school writing winners were:
Lincoln County Middle School: Logan Mason, 1st, Kaylie Cotter, 2nd, and Abbie Cook, 3rd.
School art and writing awards were presented by Bud Burdette of Central Kentucky Ag Credit and Supervisor Dale Osterman.