Bill Shurtz


On an early autumn day, we visited Bill Shurtz and traveled to two of his favorite spots on the 1900 acres that his family farms near West Lafaeytte, OH. The first site overlooked buildings and barns, and to get there we drove over a hill and back through a valley of sheep grazing, to the top of a hill with distant views in every direction. Even more remote was the second site, a hilltop that had been strip mined decades ago. Though no longer farmable, the hilltop meadow offered a unique view of the surrounding rolling hills. Both sites felt almost secret, hidden away from roadsides, offering solitary views of the landscape. At the top of the second hill, Bill talked about the history of strip mining in the area, reclamation efforts, and his farming methods on the fertile bottomland areas of his farm: