MOUNT VERNON — Nathan and Cheryl McKee of Harrison Township were honored Tuesday evening with the 2012 Outstanding Cooperator Award from the Knox Soil & Water Conservation District and Farm Credit Services of Mid America. The award was presented at the annual Knox SWCD meeting and banquet.
SWCD Director Rob Clendening explained that the award recognizes landowners who have done a great job utilizing conservation measures on their land and have also promoted agriculture and conservation by doing things like participating in the Heart of Ohio Tour or hosting 4-H and FFA contests and activities.
McKee, who has farmed full-time since 1977, said the award is recognition “for a lot of hard work and money spent” because these conservation measures are often not cheap to do, but “are worth it to protect water and soil.”
He added that “farmers do this for a living, but we also do it because we love it.”
McKee, who has a cow and calf production and grain farm, said he actually started farming when he was just a freshman in high school. After graduating from Mount Vernon High School in 1972, he also held a factory job while getting started farming, then began farming full-time in 1977.
The evening was highlighted by the comedy of Jay Hendren, a native of Johnstown, who told stories about growing up in a rural area, marriage, engagement rings, county fairs and how he found out a John Deere tractor isn’t a very smart choice for a getaway vehicle after a high school prank.
Several education awards were also presented.
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