Fayette County Soil
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2016 Conservation Farm Family
Joe & Sherri Strullmyer Family
The Fayette County Soil & Water Conservation District is pleased to announce this year’s Conservation Farm Award goes to the Joe Strullmyer family from Farina.
Joe graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1981 and started farming with his dad, Willard. He now farms 2500 acres in southeast Fayette and southwest Effingham counties. He has been using ridge till on all his farm ground for many years as a way to keep the soil covered with crop residue for erosion protection while still having a seedbed that dries out and warms up early in the spring. To provide even more soil cover, and, at the same time, improve soil health, he has, in the past several years, added cover crops on about 450 acres of his cropland. His cover crop of choice is cereal rye. It provides additional erosion protection, adds organic matter to the soil, and helps suppress weeds. Joe also maintains over 24 acres of waterways on his farming operation. This, along with numerous grade stabilization structures, helps to keep concentrated flows of water from creating gullies. In addition, he has over 42 acres of CRP on the land he farms for erosion protection and wildlife habitat. Joe said that in the early days of the CRP program, he used to have Prairie Chickens in his front yard.
Joe uses a split application of nitrogen – putting on 20 pounds with his planter and then side-dressing the rest. This allows for more efficient use of the nitrogen applied, plus reduces nitrogen carried downstream creating water quality problems.
Joe and his wife, Sherri have three children. They all attended Altamont Lutheran Interparish School, and two graduated from Altamont High School. Shaine, the oldest went there as a freshman, then finished high school at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora. He then graduated from Rose Hulman with a double major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and a minor in German. He, and his wife, Ellen, now live in Carmel, Indiana, where he works for Raytheon. Ellen works for Navy Credit Union. Klaiton graduated from Lakeland College, and is now at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale majoring in Business Management. Daughter, Serena is attending Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, pursuing a degree in nursing.
Each year county schools participate in a local Envirothon competition. Each school brings five member teams to the event and they are tested on five subjects dealing with the environment. The Fayette County Soil & Water Conservation District provides each student participating from Fayette County with a t-shirt. The shirts this year were donated by The First National Bank of Vandalia. The district is responsible for putting a unique county logo on the back of the shirts. We come up with that logo each year by having a design competition in the vocational art department at Vandalia High School. This year’s winner, and winner of a $100 Visa Card, is Coutrney Finley.
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