Henry County Soil And Water Conservation District Held 59th Annual Banquet


Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), staff, board members, and NRCS Staff began the day, on March 9th, at Square 109 for a hardy breakfast and meeting, before heading to the Benson Center to set up tables and chairs and hang posters for the evening’s banquet.
In the hour before the banquet board members and staff greeted approximately 200 guests as they arrived for the Annual Banquet.
Every guest was given the chance to put their name in a drawing for a door prize.
Each table was decorated with colorful programs and giveaways donated by some Henry County insurance agencies. The Henry County SWCD would like to thank those for donating their awesome giveaways this year.
The program began at 6:30 p.m. with Chairman Mike Fellhotler welcoming all the guests. He introduced the other SWCD Board members: Vice-Chairman, John Dameron; Treasurer, Darlene Baskins; Secretary, Travis Harper and Member, Kevin Swaters.
Mike introduced the Soil and Water Staff: District Technician, Bobbi Farmer; and District Specialist, Jayme Kepley. Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Staff were introduced: Acting District Conservationist, Matt Miller; Resource Conservationist, Makenzi Harms; and NRCS Technicians, Antionette Bullock and Liz Bailey.
Following the introductions, Mike Fellhoelter asked the blessing for the meal. The guests then enjoyed a delicious pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, green beans, rolls, dessert, and a drink meal.
“One Water” was the theme of this year’s Poster Contest. Bobbi Farmer and Jayme Kepley visited the following schools: Calhoun R-8, Windsor R-1, Clinton Intermediate, Holy Rosary, Leesville R-9, Montrose Public, Shawnee, and St. Mary’s. They gave a pamphlet, bookmark and poster board to every student in 3rd-6th grade. They received back 232 Completed posters.
This year our poster contest prize money was sponsored by OakStar Bank. Darlene Baskins read the names of the 1st place and 2nd place countywide winners, and Travis Harper handed out the prize money. All of the poster entries were decorating the walls of the Benson Center during the meeting.
Congratualtions to all of the winners! The first place countywide winners will go on to compete against all of the other county winners in the state of Missouri in the Statewide competition this fall.
Travis Harper then talked about the 26th Annual Charles Sanders Memorial Essay Contest. “One Water” was again the theme. The SWCD received some very well written Essays from Jr. High and High School Students across Henry County.
This year the essay contest was sponsored by Hawthorn Bank.
The winning essay was written by Seth Engeman. Seth is the son of John and Donna K. Engeman of Montrose. Seth is a freshman at Montrose R-14. He is president of his freshman class and a member of Montrose Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Montrose FFA, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). He is involved in cross country, basketball, and track. He serves as an officer of the Montrose Busy Beavers 4-H Club and on the Henry County 4-H Council. He attends Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and is a Junior Firefighter in his community. Seth helps on the family farm with their nursery pig operation and general chores. In his spare time he enjoys shooting sports, hunting, fishing, and hiking and camping.
Seth came forward and read the winning essay. It can be read in it’s entirety below:
One Water
Water. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, water is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula H2O. It is a transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance. It is one of the basic elements known to all living organisms. It is vital for life. All life.
Nothing quenches my thirst like an ice-cold drink of water after a long, hot sports practice or the need for a quick dip in an ice bath to help with recovery. After a full day working in the sweltering hot hog barns nothing is more welcome than a cool, refreshing shower to wash off the day’s stench. Long summer days have been spent laying irrigation pipes to water the crops in the field or checking that there is fresh water in the trough for my show steer and plenty of water in our ponds for the rest of the herd. Not to be overlooked, water is needed for leisurely afternoons spent fishing on the pond or taking a quick swim or for fun filled afternoons jet skiing or tubing on the lake. Water is vital to our existence. Water has value.
Water covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface. Seas and oceans make up most of the water found on earth, about 96.5%. Small portions of water, about 1.7%, is groundwater.
Another 1.7% is in glaciers and ice caps on Antarctica and Greenland. Clouds and precipitation make up the other one thousandths of a percent.
One Water is a global initiative for the long-term management and implementation of water resources for both community and ecosystem needs. One Water’s holistic approach to water management focuses on the idea that all water has value, and the benefit of every drop should be maximized within the water system.
Why is maximizing every drop of water important? Water plays an important role in the world economy. Approximately 70% of the freshwater used by humans is used for agriculture.
Fishing in salt and freshwater bodies is a major source of food for many parts of the world. Trade
commodities like oil, natural gas, and manufactured products is transported by boats through
seas, rivers, lakes, and canals. Large quantities of water, ice, and steam are used for cooling and
heating in industry and homes. Water is a solvent for a wide variety of substances. It is used in
industrial processes and in cooking and washing. Water, ice, and snow are also key to many
sports and other forms of entertainment, such as swimming, boating, surfing, fishing, diving, ice
skating, and skiing.
Everyone should be entitled to clean, safe, affordable water. The water industry has its
challenges providing water equity, affordability, and access. According to the UN, one in three
people do not have access to safe drinking water and two out of five people do not have a basic
hand-washing area with soap and water. Research indicates 2 million of these are Americans.
Outdated infrastructures, contaminants, and climate threats keep costs rising and keep water
unaffordable for many.
One Water is the emphasis that all water has value and that every drop should be
maximized within our water system. Those in the water industry need to continue to work
together to solve water challenges. Each one of us can do our part, as well. We can take showers
instead of baths, install water-saving toilet flush systems, fix leaky taps, pipes, and toilets, or
simply turn off the tap while brushing our teeth or washing our hands. Together we can
implement ways to manage our water resources to make them more equitable, accessible, and
affordable for all. Let’s do our part and be a part of One Water.
Kevin Swaters was next on the agenda to present the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award for 2023 to Derek Engeman. His farming operation is located north of Appleton City. In 2022, with State Cost-Share he built over 7,800 feet of tile terraces. In past years through State Cost Share he has planted several acres of cover crops, and continues with this practice today. No-tilling is another soil saving practice Derek employs. Derek’s parents are the late Duane Engeman and Tami Getz. Growing up, Derek attended and graduated from Appleton City School. At a very young age, he was involved in the family farming operation. In 2007 Derek had to step up and take over after the unexpected passing of his father.Derek is engaged to Victoria Lackey, and together they have three sons and a daughter. Stanton 13, Easton 10, Landon 7, and Ellie who is 4. The family enjoys farming together. Victoria especially enjoys the cattle work as she works at H & E Vet Clinic in Appleton City. The kids are in charge of the chickens. They are always tagging along opening gates, running and helping move equipment. Derek hopes that Easton will be the main combine operator soon. Derek’s family farm goes back to his great grandparents. He and his family live in his grandparents Leo & Edra’s house that they remodeled in 2018. Derek row crops corn, soybeans, and wheat; has a cow-calf operation; backgrounds calves; and sells some beef off the farm. He also has a construction business with a dozer and excavator. The Soil and Water has worked with him on various projects. For being a proactive steward of the land on his own farm and the conservation projects he helped to construct, he is a very deserving recipient of this Outstanding Conservation Farmer Award.
Following the presentation, a slide show put together by District Specialist, Jayme Kepley was shown. This slide show focused on the Engeman’s, their farm operation, and the life of their family.
The evening’s entertainment was Alan Leary.