Randy and Eileen Eisenhauer, Eisenhauer Family Farm were recently recognized as the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District Cooperator of the Year at the District’s Annual Celebration.

The Eisenhauers’ dedication to numerous conservation practices serve to protect and preserve Richland County’s natural resources. Randy and Eileen Eisenhauer have been committed to agriculture and conservation their entire lives. They both grew up in agriculture families and have passed along their passion and dedication for agriculture and soil and water conservation along to their daughters.

The Eisenhauer Family Farm started with bare ground in 2003. Today it is a diversified operation with Beef Cow/Calf and Meat Goat production, hay and grain production and Honeybees. They have ~22 acres in pasture and another ~25 in grain. They rent an additional 44 acres of ground for crops and hay and generally have 12-15 cows that they calve each year. They kid around 30-35 does annually for the 4-H and FFA project market and have 10 hives of honeybees and harvest and sell honey.

Conservation practices the Eisenhauers have incorporated throughout the years include waterways, windbreaks, riparian buffers-filter strips, wetland development, spring development, and rotational grazing. The NRCS EQIP (Natural Resources Conservation Service-Environmental Quality Incentives Program) allowed them to make great strides in soil conservation and water quality protection as they built their farm.

With assistance from the NRCS CRP (Natural Resources Conservation Service-program, the Eisenhauers installed a riparian buffer strip and two waterways, which help make it affordable to maintain these conservation practices, adopt other practices and continue to improve the soil and water quality on our farm.

The farm composts manure and wind row it so it can be turned. Composting allows nutrients to be more readily available to plants when applied. They have a forestry management plan and worked with a state forester to come up with it. They cut out grapevines and poison ivy, girded trees and did a select cut to remove trees to improve the livelihood of others. Since the devastation from the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, they have planted a variety of trees in their woods to replace the ones lost.

They released pheasants in 2019 and would like to release more pheasants in the future along with some quail. They had a covey of quail until the ice storm in 2005 which froze them out and destroyed their habitat. They have installed wood duck boxes at the WHIP pond and along the creek in the woods. Bluebird houses are installed along the buffer strip and on fence posts of the pasture.

The Eisenhauers stated, “Growing up in farming and agriculturally based families, we both didn’t know anything other than conservation. Farming is essentially taking care of the land, making sure that it’s productive for the future, and trying to do things in better ways and that is the definition of conservation to us.” They also said, “Soil and water conservation are important to us because we want to do our part to ensure the future generations have productive cropland, healthy habitats for domestic animals and wildlife, biodiversity and the opportunities to see wild animals in the wild, and great water quality, which is necessary to sustain all life.”

The Eisenhauer family has grown to include their daughter Kaitlyn, married to Brandon Spangler, and Kristen Eisenhauer. All the Eisenhauer’s attended Ohio State University and earned bachelor’s degrees in Agriculture.

Randy’s love of agriculture and helping people increase their knowledge about agriculture led him to become an Agriculture Education teacher and advisor. Randy is in his 29th year of teaching agriculture and being an FFA advisor. He is currently at Shelby High School. Eileen works as the County Office Administrator for Crawford, Marion, Morrow and Richland county Farm Bureaus and has been with Farm Bureau since 2003. Eileen is active as a 4-H volunteers, is the Senior Fair Board Goat Barn Superintendent at the Richland County Fair and serves on the County Livestock Committee.

The Eisenhauers received commendations from Senator Larry Obhof, Representative Mark Romanchuk and Richland County Commissioners Darrell Banks, Marilyn John and Tony Vero.
Call 419.747.8686 or go to http://richlandswcd.net/ to learn about programs and services provided by Richland SWCD.

Source: Richland Soil and Water Conservation District

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