SWCD settling into new home

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Submitted Photo Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District is settling into its new office at 1029 Countryside Dr. in Carrollton. The office was most recently occupied by the former Carroll County Visiting Nurses. With the receipt of grant funds, an expansion project is in the works to add a community meeting room.

By Carol McIntire
Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District is settling into its new quarters at 1029 Countryside Dr., Carrollton, and planning an expansion project at the same time.
The agency was previously located on N. High St. and shared the office space with the U. S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for several years.
“The two agencies shared that office since September 1985,” explained District Administrator Amanda Tubaugh. “The building was sold in September 2023 and the new owner chose to create a new business in the building, so we were asked to find a new location.
The agency and its board of supervisors, Samantha Martin, chair; Amy Miller, vice chair; John McKarns, treasurer; Byron Shankel, secretary; and Micah Hartong, member, worked with Newell Realty to locate a new office and complete the purchase.
“Last year was certainly a year filled with challenges, but challenges can ultimately be a blessing,” Tubaugh explained. “That is how we are choosing to look at the move into our new home.”
The new location is known as the Carroll County Agricultural Service Center. The purchase allows SWCD to lease space to NRCS and the two agencies, which work hand-in-hand, will continue to serve the county from one location.
Just as agencies were settling into the new quarters in early February of this year, the passage of Substitute House Bill 2 was announced. Included in the bill is Strategic Community Investment Fund, which includes $350 million for various projects.
Carroll SWCD received $200,000 toward the cost of renovations at the building.
Tubaugh explained the fund was established under the state’s main operation budget passed in 2023 and includes excess funding from the previous year.
Tubaugh said State Representative Monica Robb Blasdel and her staff were instrumental in helping secure the funding.
“We are extremely thankful and blessed to be one of the recipients of these funds,” said Tubaugh.

“This renovation of our office will be transformational, not only for us, but for our community.”
Plans are to use the funds to expand the current footprint of the new office, creating a larger meeting room that can be utilized not only by Carroll Soil and Water and the USDA, but by the community.
Forty percent of SWCD’s funding from the state of Ohio, while Carroll County Commissioners provide 38 percent through a grant. Other sources of funds come from grants (three percent), the annual tree and fish sale (six percent), rental of four no-till drills, a lime spreader and roller crimper (seven percent), current agricultural use valuation (CAUV) (four percent) and apaiary inspections and soil tests (one percent).
2023 revenue totaled $361,602.
The agency’s 2023 programs attest to the vital services provided to the community. The annual report states the agency completed inspections of 15 apiaries (90 bee hives), inspected 691 parcels (28,329 acres) for compliance in the CAUV program in conjunction with the county auditor and oversaw the planting of approximately 935 acres of cover crops in the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District through a cost-share program.
The agency also completed a number of conservation projects, including investigating a pollution complaint in the county, conducted numerous field visits to provide technical assistance to landowners/producers, assisted with two timber harvest plants, and witnessed a 91 percent growth in the spring fish sale and a 292 percent increase in the spring tree sale.
Tubaugh noted 51 farm producers received financial assistance to implement conservation practices. Practices include forest, pasture, wildlife and nutrition management as well as cover crops. Also, 43 EQUIP projects and eight CSP projects totaling nearly $1,385,696.46 have been obligated for Carroll County.
Along with all these projects, SWCD provided outreach and eduction to landowners, local government, contractors and developers, watershed groups and non-profit organizations as well as school age children through the Annual Eggstravaganza.
One of the items Tubaugh is most proud of is the establishment of a Carroll County Scholarship with the help of Mycala Little’s art classes. Students painted rain barrels that were auctioned off to help establish the fund.
Along with Tubaugh, SWCD staff members include Joe Mayle, agricultural/natural resources district technician, and Jason Reynolds, wildlfife/ forestry district technician.
NRCS staff includes Michael Hamilton, district conservationist, Jimmy Giannone, soil conservationist, and Kevin Swope, resource conservationist..
An open house is scheduled April 18, 1-4 p.m.

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