Murray Stall was a friend of farming; Conservation District to honor him tonight.

February 8, 2018

Seth Earl, left, and Murray Stall during a Soil Conservation farm tour in 2016.

Murray Stall was a friend of farming; Conservation District to honor him tonight.By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

The Michigan farming community lost a strong advocate last month after the death of Murray Stall II. Murray, 83, died on Jan. 30 at Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio.

Murray, who lived in Bear Lake, most recently was employed by the Mason-Lake Conservation District as a technician for the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and also a groundwater stewardship technician, but his career in agriculture and soil conservation expanded 65 years, beginning in 1952 when he was a soil conservation technician for the US Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service in Eaton, Ingham, and Calhoun counties until he retired in 1989.

“One time I asked him why he still did his job, and he replied to the effect that ‘the work we do is important, the people we serve are important and agriculture is a vital industry,’” said Seth Earl of the US Department of Agriculture, who worked closely with Murray.

“For more than a decade I had the opportunity to work with him, learn from him and become a friend. The way he treated farmers and the professional manner that he completed his job is unparalleled. I will be grateful for the time he and I spent around a cup of coffee in the mornings before other staff arrived, our conversations while productive, always seemed to weave back to Michigan State University sports.”

After his retirement, Murray became the Thornapple-Grand Soil Conservation District technician from 1990 to 1995. Then, he relocated to northern Michigan and began working for the Mason-Lake Conservation District where he started the local MAEAP programming, assuring that farmers follow modern environmental practices.

“While serving as a soil conservation technician with the Soil Conservation Service, Murray was extremely involved with promoting no-till cropping systems,” Earl said. “He assisted in forming the Eaton County No-Till Club and the Saginaw County No-Till farmers group. Annually, he planted 1,250 acres of no-till corn and soybeans with the Eaton County Conservation District’s planter. After relocating to Mason County, Murray continued to work with farmers in developing no-till cropping techniques by utilizing the Mason-Lake Conservation District no-till drill.”

“Upon accepting the groundwater stewardship technician position in Mason County Murray became a steady presence in our local agricultural community. His willingness to work diligently with producers and his avocation for environmental stewardship was widely recognized. From 1995- 2016 Murray completed over 650 Farm-A-Syst’s and Crop-A-Syst’s to determine environmental risks on farms.”

Early in his career. Murray assisted producers by surveying, designing, and assisting in implementation of many different environmental practices such as grade stabilization structures, surface drains, grassed waterways and water drainage. At one time Murray said that on average he designed and helped producers install between 300,000-500,000 feet of tile in a year. He remarked that one year they installed over 1 million feet of drainage systems. That is nearly 200 miles worth of tile; which is equivalent of driving from Lansing to the Mackinac Bridge.

Murray’s role in the farming community was beyond professional, though. It was personal.

“A vital component of Murray’s success was his ability to connect with farmers,” Earl said. “Murray often said that the most important part of his job was to develop long lasting friendships with the farming community. He could often be found enjoying a piece of homemade pie with a farmer and his family while discussing environmental stewardship.”

Murray was born on Dec. 28, 1934 in Charlotte. He attended Michigan State University for two years before beginning his career. He was an avid Michigan State fan and was a pilot. He is survived by his children, Murray (Karen) Stall III, Laurie Quimby, Brian (Anna) Stall, and Aimee Stall-Cannon, along with 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Connie; his sister, Marilyn Turner, and his parents, Huey and Evelyn Stall.

Funeral services were held for him on Jan. 27 in Charlotte.

Tonight, Murray will be honored during the annual meeting and dinner of the Mason-Lake Conservation District at the Scottville Optimist Center in Scottville. The dinner begins at 6 p.m.

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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