Soil & Water


Organization and History

The Preble Soil & Water conservation district was organized in 1949 by concerned landowners interested in protecting and improving our soil and water resources.  This group of landowners petitioned and organized the Preble Soil Conservation District.  The District is a legal subdivision of the State of Ohio.  In 1963 the word "water" was added to the name of the District because of the increasing importance of water in rural and urban development. Preble SWCD is managed and directed by a board of five elected supervisors.  The responsibility of the supervisors is to administer the district program, coordinate the help of government agencies, and to establish sound policies and priorities concerning the work to be accomplished in conservation education and technical assistance on the land. We are proud of the dedication and hard work the supervisors accomplish without pay throughout the years in an effort to make Preble County a "special place" to live. 

Mission Statement

To work with rural and urban landowners as well as government entities and agencies to ensure water quality and soil protection now and for future generations by strengthening the grass root effort of providing best management practices to all natural resources but especially those of soil and water. 


  • To work with all entities addressing their issues regarding the protection of soil and water quality on a purely voluntary basis.
  • To promote a higher awareness of soil protection and water quality.
  • To provide services wherever feasible to promote best management practices of all natural resources.
  • To be a resource to area entities providing guidance and information regarding the areas of soil and water.
  • To provide technical assistance to landowners installing conservation practices.
  • To provide various educational programs for youth and adults to understand their impact on our limited soil and water resources.
  • To partner with other entities to bring a unified initiative in protecting our natural resources without duplicating efforts.
  • To work as a liaison between county, state and federal agencies offering incentives to residents in promoting conservation practices.
  • To seek opportunities increasing funding and incentives providing new avenues to conservation protection.
  • To keep informed of changing perspectives and technology concerning the preservation of natural resources

Meet the Preble Soil and Water Conservation District staff!


BJ Price

BJ joined the District in March of 2007. He is married to Cathy and they have three sons. He graduated from Eaton High School and is a 2004 graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Agriculture. After college, he spent two years with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Shelby County. He farms with his father northeast of Eaton where they grow hay, corn, and feed steers.

BJ fills two roles at Preble SWCD, spending part of his time as District Administrator and also working as a Technician.  On the technical side, he works on Conservation Reserve Program  fieldwork and engineering, in addition to handling drainage, forestry, and pond site visits. 

Email BJ at: 


Jason Chappel

Jason joined the Preble SWCD staff on May 18, 2004. He and his wife Shannon have two sons and live north of Eaton.  Jason has a BS Degree in Agronomy from Wilmington College. He is also a graduate of Eaton High School.  In his spare time along with his father they grain farm using conservation tillage and no-till and raise some freezer beef.

He works as a District Technician, taking on many different tasks at the office. He assists with Zoning Site reviews and Farmland Preservation applications in addition to doing fieldwork and designs for CRP and EQIP projects. He shares in the office administrative duties.

E-Mail Jason at:

Savannah Ballweg

Savannah joined Preble SWCD in 2022 as District Educator & Technician. She hails from Carlisle, Ohio where she attended Carlisle Local Schools, before completing her Bachelors’ in Botany and Environmental Science at Miami University in 2018. She then earned her Master’s in Environment and Natural Resources from the Ohio State University in 2020, with her graduate thesis studying compositional changes in Appalachian forests of Ohio. Her favorite role has been as an educator during her time instructing and assisting courses at Ohio State and Miami. Prior to joining Preble SWCD, Savannah worked as a surveyor for the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health Division.

Savannah is delighted with this opportunity to combine her passion for learning with natural resource conservation. In her free time, she can be found exploring new hiking trails, reading, and playing with her dogs. 

E-Mail Savannah at:

Natural Resource Conservation Service Staff


Jeff Barnes

Jeff took over the District Conservationist position with NRCS in April 2014.  He, his wife Jackie, daughters Jessa and Josie, and son Jacob live west of Eaton. He graduated from National Trail in 2000 and Wilmington College in 2004 with a degree in Agronomy and a minor in Business Management.  In his spare time, he is involved with the National Trail School Foundation, the NT FFA Alumni, and helps his dad on the family farm.

He had previously worked with the District as a Summer Intern (2000) and again with NRCS as a Student Trainee (2001) and Soil Conservationist (2009-2011).
In his current position, Jeff is covering both Preble and Montgomery Counties.  His primary goal is to work with farmers to address resource concerns and implement/manage the USDA-NRCS conservation programs.
Jeff is excited to be working in his home county and looks forward to helping Preble and Montgomery County landowners get conservation on the land. 

Email Jeff at:


Karen McCalister

Hello Everyone! My name is Karen McCalister and I am the new Resource Conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), stationed out of Montgomery County. I will be assisting Jeff Barnes, the District Conservationist for Montgomery and Preble counties, and will share my time between both offices.

I started my conservation career with the USDA Forest Service in 1985 and transferred to the Natural Resources Conservation Service in 1994 (known as the Soil Conservation Service…back then).  Yes….I am an old fart. My two children are a constant reminder of how quickly time passes and my, oh, my, how times have changed! Prior to transferring to Montgomery County I mainly spent most of my time as a District Conservationist in Miami County. 

Over the last 20 years I have also had the pleasure of assisting with the workload in several Southwest Ohio counties. My roots take me way, way back to Dayton, Ohio as I am a graduate of what was once Kiser High School.  I received my undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and my graduate degree from The University of Dayton.  

I enjoy the outdoors and assisting private landowners with putting conservation on the ground.  I look forward to working with the landowners and producers of Preble County.

Email Karen at:


Renee Buck

Renee joined Preble County as a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist in November of 2014.  She earned a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University.  She has worked for various agencies in natural resource and wildlife management over the years. 
Her role as a farm bill biologist will be to provide biological and technical assistance (with a wildlife focus) to landowners, government agencies, non-government organizations and anyone else seeking  assistance with conservation related matters. She will be responsible for the implementation and application of biological sciences within the various conservation programs implemented by the Farm Bill, working primarily with the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). 

Renee grew up in Tecumseh, Michigan a small town near the Ohio State line. She has a passion for wildlife and conservation and loves being active in the outdoors through biking, hiking, and camping. She also enjoys the water and uses a kayak to explore and do a little fishing. Other major hobbies she enjoys are the winter sports of ice hockey and snowboarding.

Email Renee at: 


Brooke White 

Brooke joined the NRCS in August of 2021 as a Soil Conservationist. She is from Dayton, Ohio and attended Trotwood Madison Highschool. Brooke earned her Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Agriculture from Central State University in 2020, where she acquired a lot of lab experience, greenhouse experience, joined organization such as MANNRS and gained the love of Agriculture. 
Brooke knew that she wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than herself and be able to implement changes to the ever so changing environment. White's role is to help landowners in both Montgomery and Preble counties develop conservation plans that fit best with their objectives and agencies. White enjoys helping others understand the importance/benefits of protecting and nourishing the land while simultaneously profiting from it.
Brooke has a daughter, two kittens and a dog. She loves to dance and cheer and has always wanted to make an impact on her city.
Email Brooke at :