The Austin County Soil & Water Conservation District held its 2019 Banquet of Champions on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, at the Cat Spring Agricultural Society Hall.
The Austin County SWCD No. 347 2019 Conservation Rancher Award was presented to Harvey Stuessel Jr. Brad Kieschnick, NRCS District Conservationist, and Charles Goeke, Chairman of the Austin County Soil & Water Conservation District presented the Conservation Rancher Award to Stuessel.
Stuessel, a native of Sealy, lived his working years in Beaumont. He studied to be a machinist at Lamar Tech, as it was then known, and got a job at a chemical plant in Port Neches. He later became a maintenance foreman at the same plant and retired after 42 years of work. During the time of his employment, he and his son (Greg) would come on weekends and assist his father, Harvey Stuessel Sr., with work on the farm.
Eventually, Stuessel Sr. decided that he could no longer continue taking care of his cows due to age and elected to rent the land. During the 15-year rental, the land was kept at the most basic of working levels but, no improvements were made beyond occasional seasonal shredding.
The Stuessels decided that improvements needed to be made in order to have a successful haying and cattle operation.
Each year the district sponsors a poster and essay contest for children enrolled in schools in Austin County. The poster contest was open to students 12 years old or younger. The theme was “Life in Soil: Dig Deeper.”
The essay contest was open to students, 18 years or younger. The essay title this year was also “Life in Soil: Dig Deeper.”
The district contest winners are as follows:
Poster contest winners
Third and fourth grade:
1st Camdyn Evans O’Bryant Primary
2nd Naelynn Cano O’Bryant Primary
3rd Jainelli Villasana O’Bryant Primary
Fifth and sixth grade
1st Katelyn Krenek homeschool
2nd Ava Tiemann West End Elementary
3rd Jacie Menefee West End Elementary
Essay contest winners
1st Alexa Aschenbeck Bellville High School
2nd Lee Michalik Bellville High School
3rd Emily Shupak Bellville High School
The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Charles Goeke. Pastor Frank Lucas of Shepherd’s Way Church, Sealy, gave the invocation and benediction.