Restoration of land to natural state earns recognition for farm owner
Mark Warnick is the recipient of the 2004 Conservation Banker Award for his farm located on Shawnee Road west of Leavenworth.
Warnick purchased the farm in 1990. He said his initial plan was and still is to restore the 160 acres to a nearly native state.
Warnick has entered all of the former cropland in the Conservation Reserve Program and the Wetland Reserve Program. These fields have been seeded and established in stands of native grasses adapted to this part of Kansas.
The pond that was present on the property when Warnick purchased it has been enlarged for fishing and recreation.
The Wetland Reserve easement has several structures installed for creating wetland and developing shallow water areas for wildlife.
Warnick has worked with several agencies to meet his objective for the land, including Kansas State Extension Forester to improve the forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to develop and improve wildlife habitat and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to reduce erosion and address all resource concerns. Warnick said his goal was to get the land back to a healthy condition.