(WKBN) – Earlier Thursday evening, on a farm south of Columbiana, the Miller family was honored for having recently received the Ohio Farm Family Conservation Award. They’re cattle farmers who do their best to conserve their land.

The family was honored at a meeting of the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council.

“Basically, the biggest thing, we’re trying to support and sustain top soil because that’s where we grow our grass and that’s what feeds our cows,” said Todd Miller, fourth generation.

The Miller family farm is on Lower Elkton Road, three miles south of the roundabout in Columbiana. They have 125 acres. The Millers have been farming this land since the late 1800s. For most of that time, it was a grain farm.

“My dad went to his grave shaking his head a little but I didn’t like riding a tractor as much as I do like moving cows and working cows,” Miller said.

Miller says the least expensive way to feed cows is with grass, and they do so nine to 10 months out of the year, using hay only during the winter months. But grass needs good soil to grow, so conserving the soil is priority one.

“Practices such as what we’re standing on here is a heavy-use pad used for feeding cattle when it’s too muddy to feed them elsewhere,” Miller said.

The building where Thursday evening’s meeting was held is a heavy-use pen pack where the cattle are fed during winter.

“Other things we put into place, we have access roads when we do have to run tractors up and down to feed cattle, that we’re not creating ruts and mud,” Miller said.

Miller says these practices are a big change from how cattle farmers used to work.

“Oh, absolutely. It used to be all the pastures you saw were the bottom ground where they couldn’t crop farm,” Miller said.

But Miller says it took no convincing him that these were the methods to be used.

“No, because I think it just makes sense. Well, one thing is I hate mud, and so does cattle and so does equipment. So these conservation practices really eliminate a lot of the mud issues we had. No, I think when you look at the bottom dollar, the conservation issues make sense,” Miller said.

Along with the Ohio Farm Family Conservation Award, State Representative Monica Blasdel presented the Millers with a proclamation from the House of Representatives on a job well done.