In attendance were various elected officials at the state and local levels, as well as chamber members.

Darke County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee holds Darke County Farm Tour

VERSAILLES— The Darke County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee, in cooperation with The Ohio State University Extension, and Darke Soil and Water Conservation District, hosted an elected officials Farm Tour on Friday. 

In attendance were various elected officials at the state and local levels, as well as chamber members.

Darke County makes the most money off of agriculture than any other county in Ohio. Ninety two percent of Darke County is tillable land. The county is number one for corn and soybean production, number two for pork, livestock and egg production. As well as number four in Ohio for cattle production.

The tour included stops at the Schmitmeyer Farm, and the Darke County Airport Farm both off of Old St. Rt. 242, and lastly a lunch at the Silas Creative Kitchen at Hotel Versailles.

At the Schmitmeyer farm, Taylor Dill, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at the OSU Extension, discussed a couple of research and data collection projects that are going on in Darke County.

Dill said there are currently two projects in the corn field at the Schmitmeyer farm. At the county  level, she said research is based on questions from local farmers, and that projects are usually born out of what they want to look at. 

The two projects focus on western bean cutworm, and major corn diseases.

At the Darke County Airport Farm, Jared Coppess, District Administrator at Darke County Soil & Water Conservation District, discussed conservation practices, and the grassed waterway that’s being installed at the farm to fight erosion.

“This project started two years ago,” he said. “We started talking about some of the needs here. We had a lot of gulley and mill erosion. It was really cutting the farm up, and they were actually abandoning some of the crop out here because you didn’t want to drive your equipment out here.”

Sponsors for the luncheon at Hotel Versailles included Phelan Insurance Agency, and Edison State Community College.

At Silas, executive chef Aaron Allen discussed the restaurant’s farm to table initiatives. 

“It is a little cliche, the term ‘farm to table,’ you hear it a lot these days,” he said. “But really it’s the best way to source and support local communities and local groups.”

The restaurant uses Sycamore Bridge Farm, in Versailles, to source most of its produce.

“It’s run by Katie Bensman, who’s a local that does an amazing job,” Allen said. “She grows about 85 varietals every season. We have two green houses on the farm. It ends up being about 2500 lbs of food a year, which is enormous.”

Some of the additional local collaborations include Winner’s Meats, Bear’s Mills, Weaver’s Eggs and King’s Brothers Poultry.

The OSU Extension is located at 603 Wagner Ave, Greenville, OH 45331, for any questions related to the extension or agriculture in Darke County, contact Dill at dill.138@osu.edu. The Darke County Soil & Water Conservation District is located at 1117 Southtowne Court ​Greenville, OH 45331, for any questions related to the district, contact Coppess at  jared.coppess@darkeswcd.com. Hotel Versailles is located at 21 W Main St, Versailles, Ohio, 45331. For more information call the hotel at 937-526-3020.

At the Schmitmeyer farm, Taylor Dill, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at the OSU Extension, discussed a couple of research and data collection projects that are going on in Darke County.
At the Darke County Airport Farm, Jared Coppess, District Administrator at Darke County Soil & Water Conservation District, discussed conservation practices, and the grassed waterway that’s being installed at the farm to fight erosion.
At Silas, executive chef Aaron Allen discussed the restaurant’s farm to table initiatives. 

Abigail Miller / Editor

Abigail Miller is a Greenville native, Kent State graduate, writer, shopaholic and friend. Contact Darke County Now Reporter Abigail Miller at amiller@darkecountynow.com.

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