Farmer and Conservationist of the Year Named in Van Buren County

Conservationist of the Year: Buster Turner and family, Lawton. Farmer of the Year: Ron and Soo Klein, Windshadow Farm & Dairy, Bangor.

   The Van Buren Conservation District’s (VBCD) Summer Picnic hosted this year at the Paw Paw Conservation Club went off without a hitch. With perfect weather, beautiful flowers and mouthwatering strawberries from Druskovich Farms, perfectly sweet blueberries from Brookside Farms, decadent cheeses from Windshadow Farm & Dairy among the fixins’. This year we roasted a hog raised by Molly Kubiszak that was purchased at the Van Buren County Youth Fair large animal auction. Although the food is great there is more that happens at this annual meeting.
   Conservation District staff took a few moments to thank their Board of Directors, partners, volunteers, and residents of the community for supporting the great work that is happening throughout the county. Staff discussed the important programming that is coming out of the VBCD office, such as invasive species, recycling, native vegetation, and septic system education. More was explained about the vast work and best management practices such as drain tile management, cover crops, and proper chemical and fuel containment that is being done by farmers working with our technicians.
   The highlight of the night was the awards given to two well-deserved groups of people. Buster Turner of Lawton was given the “Conservationist of the Year” for supporting the VBCD in its many programs. Buster helps with the Tree Seedling Sale every April and with a twist of the arm, he and his daughter Laura have put on an amazing spread for the last nine years of summer picnics. Buster is a dedicated resident with love and commitment to his community and is a truly genuine soul and friend of the VBCD.
    The “Farmer of the Year” award was given to the team at Windshadow Farm & Dairy in Bangor. Ron and Soo Klein raise and milk dairy goats as part of a grazing program and then use the milk to make cheeses in their commercial cheese plant which opened in 2017. 
   Ron and Soo are giant advocates for safe farming practices and have participated in several programs with the Conservation District. Windshadow is proudly verified in the Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock systems of MAEAP (Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program) are certified Wildlife Friendly, the first to do so in Michigan, as well as Certified Animal Welfare Approved.
   “The Verification in MAEAP shows that Ron and Soo care about the environment, while the Wildlife Friendly certification and the Animal Welfare certification shows that they are also concerned about the health and happiness of not only their herd of goats, but also the animals that live in the environment that their farm operates in,” states Kyle Mead, MAEAP Technician at the VBCD.
   To learn about the programming of the Van Buren Conservation District please visit:; and find us on Facebook at To find out about the great work Conservation Districts are doing throughout Michigan, please visit
   AJ Brucks
   Executive Director
    Van Buren Conservation District

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
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