Love of the land leads to lineman’s legacy

Posted on Aug 29 2019 in Boone REMC

To say that conservation runs in Lineman Cody Hovermale’s blood is an understatement, but he has taken his family history and turned it into an activism that is helping the community … and pollinators that migrate through Boone County. 

Hovermale’s father graduated from Purdue with a degree in agronomy, which has to do with the science of soil management and crop production. That job led him to the Farm Assistance Services for the Indiana Department of the USDA and now his step-mother, Susan Hovermale, works there, too. 

“Obviously, that influenced our decision to do the program, but the location is ripe for the program as well,” Hovermale said. “We are in the monarch migration path, and my neighbor has honey bees.”

Hovermale takes part in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). He has pledged a portion of his land to the state in the joint effort to conserve the habitat for pollinators. He currently has eight species of wildflowers, including clover, milkweed, and aster, that bloom all summer at different times from May to October. 

“These plants all reseed themselves, so it’s my job to mow it and maintain it,” Hovermale said. “There is a process to it, but all the birds, butterflies and wildlife make it worth it.”  

Hovermale also planted his nearly 2 acre plot with warm season grasses for pheasant and quail. This program is called Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds Initiative (GGS). The program provides assistance to improve or develop grassland and pollinator-friendly habitats in selected regions in the state.

Derek Warren, deputy director of planning, serves on the board of directors for the Friends of Boone County Trails, Inc. with Hovermale and has known him for over 30 years. 

“Cody has been very involved and graciously donated his time to projects and fundraisers that need attention on the Big 4 Trail,” Warren said. “He understands the impact of what a county-wide trail system will have for our community.  To have progressive thinkers in our community, like him, is a huge bonus.” 

Hovermale is able to see his legacy passed on from his father and the importance of passing along his love of outdoors to his own child, who he involves in his hunting and fishing trips, as well as the preservation efforts on his own property. 

“Wildlife needs habitat to be sustainable for myself and others to enjoy it,” Hovermale said. “Without habitat, wildlife would slowly fade, and future generations will not get the enjoyment I have had.”