Drones the topic of annual Meigs SWCD meeting and election

Staff Report

POMEROY — Drones, more formerly known as unmanned aerial vehicles, and their everyday applications, including agriculture, will be the topic of this year’s annual Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual meeting and election to be held Oct. 3, 7 p.m. at Meigs High School.

John Bentz, a civil engineer employed with Pickering Associates, will be the guest speaker and give a presentation entitled “The View from Above, the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Everyday Life.”

Drones, while controversial and oftentimes viewed in a negative light, have the potential to change our way of life, according to Bentz. From simple and cost-effective, high-definition aerial photography to scanning open pastures to determine crop health and soil conditions, to structural inspections, Bentz says the applications are endless.

As recent natural disasters have illustrated, the emergence of drone technology is being used in conjunction with thermal imaging to assist in search and rescue operations, he added.

In this discussion, Bentz will provide a brief background on the development of drones, some regulations currently in place, as well as their currently implemented safety features. The majority of the presentation, however, will focus on interesting case studies and research regarding the use of drones in various fields of study (including agricultural). Along with the applications mentioned, a brief explanation and demonstration of the 3D mapping capability of these systems will be presented.

Bentz is a 2006 graduate of Southern High School and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Ohio University in 2011. His efforts focus on the design and delivery of projects within the Energy/Oil and Gas Industry, as well as Commercial Site Development sector. He also serves on a Multi-discipline team within Pickering Associates as the Civil Engineering BIM (Building Information System) Specialist. He is the son of Keith and Becky Bentz of Racine.

Election of Supervisors

Also that night eligible voters will select two of three candidates for the Meigs SWCD Board of Supervisors. The candidates are as follows:

Keith Bentz

Bentz is currently a full-time mechanic for Karr Contracting, and he and his wife, Becky Lee Bentz, operate the Lee Farm located on Bashan Road near Racine. The Lee Farm has been in the same family since settlement times. The farm is used in the production of beef, hay and small grains. Bentz has participated in U.S. Department of Natural Resources-Natural Resources Conservation Service programs including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and stewardship programs. He is a former Outstanding Cooperator of the Year for the Meigs SWCD.

Tonja Hunter

Hunter was raised in Meigs County around the Racine area and has been associated with farming all her life. She is a 1983 graduate of Southern High School, and is the daughter of Ronald and Janice Salser of Racine and is married to Dr. Douglas Hunter. They reside on a 180-acre hay farm on Bashan Road. She has participated in the Conservation Reserve Program and the Forestry Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

As a teenager Hunter worked on the Wayne Roush Farm and developed a love for farming and the outdoors. She is a member of the Racine Area Community Organization, serves as the minority advisor on the FSA County Committee, and helps with the teenage youth group and Sunday School classes at Racine First Baptist Church. In addition to farming she enjoys sports, gardening, hunting, and spending time with her family.

Michael Warner

Warner is an insurance agent and part-time farmer. He and his wife, Sheila, reside in the Forest Run community in Sutton Township.

Residents or landowners, firms, and corporations that own land or occupy land in Meigs County and are 18 years of age or older may vote for supervisor. A non-resident landowner, firm, or corporation must provide an affidavit of eligibility, which includes designation of a voting representative, prior to casting a ballot.

There are three ways an eligible voter can cast a ballot: at the annual meeting, at the SWCD office until 3 p.m. on Oct. 3, or via absentee ballot by requesting an absentee ballot from the SWCD office at 113 E. Memorial Dr. Suite D, Pomeroy, OH 45769.

Absentee ballots can be requested until Sept. 25 by calling or stopping in the office.

Supervisors serve staggered three year terms. The winner will be announced the evening of the annual meeting and banquet.


Staff Report