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Soil and Water Conservation District honors people for efforts

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    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE Mike and Patti Boyert stood in for their sons, Clayton and Jacob Boyert, who won the Conversation Steward Award on Wednesday at the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual dinner at Medina County Career Center.

    Robert Finnan


Bob Finnan

The Gazette

MEDINA — The Boyert brothers won one of the biggest honors of the night Wednesday at the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual dinner at the Medina County Career Center.

But Jacob and Clayton Boyert were unable to attend the awards ceremony to accept the 2018 Conservation Steward Award, because they were in Kansas City, Missouri, selling some of their cows.

Their parents, Mike and Patti Boyert, stepped in for their sons at the banquet.

“We appreciate the award,” Mike Boyert said. “Jacob and Clayton couldn’t be here. You’re getting second best.”

Other award winners were Bree McNeill, a teacher at Sacred Heart School in Wadsworth, who was named Educator of the Year, and Jim Brandenburg, sexton at the Harrisville-Lodi Union Cemetery, who accepted the award in the Big Tree contest.

Kathy Kraus, of Medina, also re-enacted a skit portraying World War II WASP pilot Jeanette Jenkins.

About 115 people attended the 174th annual banquet.

Soil and Water has been recognizing farmers for their conservation practices since 1961.

Jim Dieter, district manager, said the love of raising cattle was installed in the Boyert brothers at a young age. It started in 4-H and turned into a full-time job of raising as many as 150 cows, cattle and calves.

Dieter said the Boyert brothers worked at creating a market for their animals that specializes in show and breeding stock. This type of marketing requires taking cattle all over the country.

Dieter said the brothers are always on the road.

“I’m sure they would be happy to work with a local buyer or producer,” he said.

Over time, they started working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service on pasture management. This consisted of a plan to keep good grass available to the cattle in a sustainable manner.

The Boyert brothers keep cattle in a paddock only several days and then rotate them to new grass.

They are planning on raising 100 brood cows in the near future.

Clayton has a farm in Guilford Township and Jacob in Montville Township. Combined, they have about 75 acres of pasture land where they use rotational grazing.

Mike and Patti Boyert own Boyert’s Greenhouse in Montville.


McNeill teaches science to fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Sacred Heart. Each one of her classes is taught creative lessons that instruct and inspire student to learn about conservation, Soil and Water’s Beth Schnabel said.

She uses a Medina County watershed map to illustrate the seven drainage regions in the county, as well as pointing out the east-west continental divide weaving through the county.

Fifth-graders learn about different ecosystems and how the habitat affects the animal population.

Stream water conservation is taught in seventh grade. There she points out erosion problems on a stream bank, which sparks a discussion on erosion prevention. The seventh-graders also do water quality testing in Homes Brook, which is close to Sacred Heart.


The pin oak tree in the Lodi cemetery was supposedly planted when the cemetery opened in 1897. It’s 120 feet tall and

151 inches in circumference with a crowd spread of 86 feet.

“You just don’t realize just how big that tree is,” Brandenburg said.

This is the 16th year of the Big Tree contest, sponsored by The Gazette, which designates the biggest tree in the county using a formula of height, circumference and crown spread. Each year, the contest looks at a different species of tree.

Next year’s tree will be the American Linden (basswood).


Kraus, a retired art teacher at Medina and Cloverleaf schools, often portrays Jenkins in a skit for community groups throughout the year that brings the former pilot to life.

One of 20 female pilots from Ohio during World War II, Jenkins got into the line of work testing planes, including a B-29, for the thrill of it and to contribute to the war effort, Kraus said.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots battle-tested the planes in Sweet Water, Texas, for their male counterparts in the Air Force.

Thirty-eight WASPs died testing planes.

In other news

n The conservation district has hired Eric Hange, 24, as its district technician. That position was last held by Jim Dieter, who is now district manager. Hange started Oct. 15. He will make just under $30,000 a year.

Hange grew up on Homedale farms in Medina County, attended Black River High School and graduated in 2017 from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture systems management.

He married Gabrielle Doering in June 2017. They spent the last year living in Anchorage, Alaska, before returning to Ohio in August. The Hanges live on River Corners Road in Spencer.

n Steve Fulton and Celia Kruggel were voted to new three-year terms on the board of supervisors. Their terms will expire in 2021.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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