Mike Werling (Allen County SWCD) on his farm homestead in Adams County, Indiana off Winchester Road. Mike is a soil health farmer who practices no-till, cover crops, and other conservation practices.

The Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District is extending a huge thank you and round of applause to Mike Werling, our Conservation Programs Specialist. Mike, a fourth-generation conservation farmer in Adams County, has been working for the District since 2018. Before this, he frequently volunteered for the Allen Co. SWCD at the Fort Wayne Farm Show and other events. Mike started his journey of soil health and conservation farming because he hated seeing erosion in his fields. Today he uses over 17 cover crops, incorporates no-till, and utilizes other best management practices such as grass waterways, water and sediment control basins, buffer strips around his upland areas, and drainage water management.

During his time with the District, Mike advocated for soil health through public presentations, educational workshops, farm tours, and working directly with local producers. We cannot thank Mike enough for all the time and energy he dedicated to the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District. We wish him the best as he takes on his new role as the Adams County, IN Surveyor. We know he will be successful in improving drainage systems, reducing erosion, and keeping nutrients from entering Adams County’s waterways.

Mike Werling (Allen County SWCD) on his farm homestead in Adams County, Indiana off Winchester Road. Mike is a soil health farmer who practices no-till, cover crops, and other conservation practices.
Mike Werling on his homestead in Adams County, Indiana. Mike is a soil health farmer who practices no-till, cover crops, and other conservation practices.
Mike Werling (Allen County SWCD) at Bloomingdale Gardens in Fort Wayne, Indiana, installing a raised garden bed.
Mike Werling at Bloomingdale Gardens in Fort Wayne, Indiana, installing a raised garden bed.
Mike Werling (Allen County SWCD) at Roemke Farms annual Soil Health Field Day in Harlan, Indiana, explaining how a roller crimper terminates a cover crop before planting a new crop. Sorghum Sudan Grass featured.
Mike Werling at the 2021 Roemke Farms Annual Soil Health Field Day in Harlan, Indiana, explaining how a roller crimper terminates a cover crop before planting a new crop. Sorghum sudan grass featured.
Mike Werling and other farmers at Allen County SWCD's Stay at the Pay (2021) in Put-in-Bay, OH. OSU Research Vessel trolling for Lake Erie fish species.
Mike Werling and other farmers at Allen County SWCD’s Stay at the Pay (2021) in Put-in-Bay, OH. OSU Research Vessel trolling for Lake Erie fish species.
Mike Werling with the Allen County SWCD sampling the release of carbon from soil. An IUPUI project.
Mike Werling sampling the release of carbon from soil. An IUPUI project.
Mike Werling (Allen County SWCD) revealing an earthworm tunnel in the soil of a farm in Harlan, Indiana. No-till and Cover Crops bring soil health and earthworms.
Mike Werling revealing an earthworm tunnel in the soil of a farm field in Harlan, Indiana.
Allen SWCD Education Trailer set up at New Tech Academy in October 2022. Soil Health and Waste Management Systems Displays set up for students.

The Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District has greatly enjoyed serving Allen County and the surrounding counties in 2022. We conducted numerous field days, workshops, webinars, tours, and provided other forms of education to the community. We can’t wait to continue serving our community in 2023.

Bloomingdale Urban Gardens

With the partnership of the Bloomingdale Neighborhood in Fort Wayne and through the financial aid of USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), we were able to develop a demonstration garden. This garden demonstrates the soil health practices which include 1) minimizing disturbance of the soil, 2) keeping the soil covered, 3) maintaining living roots in the soil, and 4) increasing diversity.

Before the growing season ended, we planted a cover crop mix of cereal rye and crimson clover in one of the beds. We are excited to have a cover crop termination workshop this spring at the garden! If you have any questions or would like to tour the garden, give us a call at 260-484-5848 ext. 3.

Bloomingdale Gardens in summer 2022. Raised garden beds with peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, zinnias, mulch and cover crops.

Education Trailer

The Allen County Education Trailer build was completed in June of this year. It has been professionally wrapped and our educational displays will be installed this winter. We look forward to a great season with it in 2023.

Allen SWCD Education Trailer at New Tech academy in October 2022. Soil Health Display and Waste Management Display set up.

Project Wrap-Ups

The Soils Project which provided resources to local producers to better understand their soils as well as the Flatrock-Auglaize Watershed Management Planning Grant have been completed and closed out. A huge thanks to the staff, partners, and contractors who worked so diligently on these projects and made them great successes.

The Flatrock-Auglaize Watershed Management Plan will be available on the Allen County SWCD website as soon as it is finalized.

Field Days and Workshops

The District hosted numerous field days and workshops. Around 100 people joined us for Going Green for Ag on March 17th with various topics on soil health, innovative technologies, and nutrient supply changes. The Annual Soil Health Field Day at Roemke Farms was a great way to connect with over 200 farmers and landowners about soil health, cover crops, and advances in equipment. Fifty people joined us for Day at the Lake which is an educational trip to Put-In-Bay on Lake Erie. The “Coffee and” webinar series hosted 8 seminars with topics focused on urban and small farmers.

The Urban and Small Farms Program hosted a farm tour to the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center and gave a cover crop planting demos at Bloomingdale Gardens.

2022 Soil Health Field Day at Roemke Farms. Soil pit and cover crop discussion.

Pontoon Tours

Nine educational pontoon tours were conducted in 2022 reaching over 80 individuals. These tours traveled Fort Wayne’s 3 rivers: the St. Marys, the St. Joseph, and the Maumee. Participants learned about the history of the rivers as well as current management strategies that are improving water quality. We will continue to provide pontoon tours in 2023 when the weather warms up!

Pontoon tours in Fort Wayne, IN with New Tech Academy Students. Conservation education.

Community Partnerships and Involvement

Staff from the Allen County SWCD participated in numerous community events including the Fort Wayne Farm Show, Black Loam Conference, EcoFest, Master Gardener Garden Walk, 4H Fair, Pedal Paddle Play, Fort Wayne Farmers’ Market, Bloom Fest, and World Rivers Day.

The District also partnered with the following organizations and agencies: USDA – NRCS, Farm Service Agency, Indiana DNR, Maumee Watershed Alliance, Legacy Taste of the Garden, Northeast Indiana Local Food Network, Purdue Extension, Fort Wayne Parks Dept, ISDA, Roemke Farms, Farm Bureau, Bloomingdale Neighborhood Association, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, New Tech Academy, Washington Elementary School, United States Geological Survey, Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management, IUPUI, etc.

Allen County SWCD farm tour at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. Silviculture. Community Event in Northeast Indiana.

Join us virtually for Coffee and Invasive Species Management on Wednesday, November 16 from 9am-10am. Art Franke, the NRCS District Conservationist in Steuben County, will be sharing about common invasive plants in Northeast Indiana as well as control methods and resources. We’ll look at common invasive plants in various habitats, cropland, pasture, forest/wildlife habitat, landscaping, etc. 

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUqc-ygpz4vE9EWAwKwlJx483Bs8-Sbun_U

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