Inside this Issue of Current Developments
2 WILLIAM HUNT’S REMARKS
Remarks from the State 3 DRIFTLESS AREA AND THE DRIFTLESS AREA INITIATIVE
4 MASWCD LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
Conservationist 5 2007 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE
6 PAUL BRIDGLAND HONORED WITH THE 2008 MINNESOTA -
Thank you for the commitment, dedication, NRCS ENGINEER AWARD
and professionalism demonstrated during the
National Open Obligations audit review during DIGITOP, USDA’S DIGITAL DESKTOP LIBRARY! ,
calendar year 2008. 7 MASWCD RECOGNIZES CONSERVATION
We were given a Paul Bunyan size task to 8 CYNTHIA MORALES RETURNS TO NRCS
complete in a relatively short time frame. You 9 NETWORKING WORKS!
never faltered or stumbled, but rose to the
challenge. 10 WELCOME NICKOLE M. JACKSON
11 LYON SWCD/NRCS COORDINATED A NEW SENIOR COLLEGE
Again, thanks for a job well done and have a CLASS
good and productive 2009!
12-13 CONSERVATION CONNECTIONS
Just around the corner on the calendar is 14 CIVIL RIGHTS COMMITTEE
the 39th anniversary of Earth Day. This is an
excellent opportunity for each of us to take note 15 WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
of the abundant natural resources that we have
in Minnesota. 16 2009 BLACK HISTORY MONTH POSTER WINNER
17-37 AREA REPORTS
Keep up the good work that you are doing
for NRCS and our Conservation partners.
And remember, your continued efforts are
The Nelson farm is planted largely to fruit trees and on sloping land the rows are on
the contour. In the young orchard at the left the spaces between the rows are planted
to grain and corn. Some of the level land is in grain and corn and truck crops. George
Nelson, owner. 7/24/1948
Photographer: W.H. Lathrop
HISTORIC CONSERVATION PHOTO
Driftless Area and the Driftless area Initiative
By Julie MacSwain, Public Affairs Specialist
The Driftless Area Initiative (DAI) is a multi-state, non-profit
management partnership. It strives to coordinate natural resource
conservation efforts of organizations and interested people within the
24,000 square-mile area focused on this driftless topography. DAI is
dedicated to developing a unified voice for related resource issues
that affect the land and water in this area shared by the states of
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.
“Drift” is the word used to identify deposits of dirt, gravel, and rock
that glaciers leave behind when they retreat. Since glaciers never
came through a large area of the Upper Mississippi River Basin, it is
called “drift-less” – essentially unglaciated.
So why is this area special?
• It is distinctive. Hundreds of state and federally threatened and
endangered animal and plant species call it home.
• It is highly regarded. Many of the high-quality rivers and cold-
water trout streams are recognized at state and national levels
for their economic, environmental, and recreational importance.
• It is exceptionally diverse. The driftless area includes rugged
topography, forests, prairies, savannas, grasslands, wetlands,
lakes and over 600 freshwater streams and creeks.
Why are Natural Resources a Concern in this Area?
• Because wildlife habitat has been impacted as millions of acres
of timber, grassland, and wetland have been altered and are
still being altered due to development and changing agricultural
practices. Less than 1% of native grasslands remain in this
• Because water quality is endangered and soil erosion is increased
by current land use trends, both urban and rural.
• Because the Lower Mississippi River and the Northern Gulf of
Mexico are polluted by sediment from erosion and nutrient/
chemical run-off upstream.
What are the DAI’s Goals?
1) To coordinate projects of regional significance in support
of natural resource conservation, sustainable rural economic
development and strengthened community identity and
2) To assist in finding funding for important projects.
3) To bring together interested parties with similar goals.
For more information about the DAI, please visit
their website: www.driftlessareainitiative.org
MASWCD Leadership Institute
By: Danielle Evans, Soils GIS Specialist in Duluth
The MASWCD Leadership Institute is designed to enhance the leadership skills of the participants. Currently there are four Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employees involved in this training: Lisa Buckner, RC & D Coordinator for Three Rivers
RC & D; Brett Coleman, Water Resources Engineer in St. Paul; Danielle Evans, Soils GIS Specialist in Duluth; and Kelly Voigt, DC in
Baudette. The training began in August 2008 and will continue through August 2009.
Current participants in the MASWCD Leadership Institute were in Washington D.C. March 1-5, 2009, acquiring civic leadership
skills they can put to work back home in Minnesota. The group includes the aforementioned four NRCS employees, seventeen Soil
and Water Conservation District (SWCD) board members and staff,
and three employees with the Board of Water and Soil Resources
While in Washington, the group met with staff members of federal
agencies including the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, the USDA Farm
Services Agency, and the U.S. Forest Service. Members of the group
met with a representative of the Canadian Embassy and visited the
Australian Embassy. While the SWCD and BWSR participants met
with political representatives, the NRCS participants were able to meet
with several national NRCS staff. Some of these included but were
not limited to David White, NRCS Chief; Dana York, NRCS Associate
Chief; the three acting Regional Assistant Chiefs Diane Gelburd,
Rick Swenson, and Ginger Murphy; Tom Christensen, Deputy
Chief for Programs; Noller Herbert, Director of the Conservation
Engineering Division; Gus Jordan, Branch Chief, Water Resources
Program; James Tillman, Acting Deputy Chief, Strategic Planning &
Accountability; and Mike Golden, Soil Survey Division Leader.
L-R Brett Coleman, Lisa Buckner, David White,
NRCS Chief; Kelly Voigt, Danielle Evans. The Washington D.C. seminar is one of seven meetings that are
part of the MASWCD Leadership Institute. The other six
meetings all occur in Minnesota. By the end of the program,
participants will have studied the following leadership
topics: understanding leadership skills, developing a
vision, effective communication, addressing conflict, civic
leadership, practicing ethical leadership, and understanding
organizational management skills.
The program is designed to build and enhance the
leadership skills and capacity of participants so that they
can better serve the public and successfully address the
complex natural resource conservation issues that are found
in communities throughout Minnesota. The content of the
program is designed and delivered by staff of the University
of Minnesota Extension Service. A portion of the cost of
conducting the program is provided through a grant from
the Minnesota office of the Natural Resources Conservation
Service. For further information about the program, contact
the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation L-R Brett Coleman, Lisa Buckner, Dana York, NRCS
Districts at 651-690-9028. Associate Chief; Kelly Voigt, Danielle Evans.
2007 Census of Agriculture
By: Leah Duzy, Agricultural Economist
The results from the 2007 Census of Agriculture were released on February 4, 2009. The entire Census of Agriculture can be
accessed at www.agcensus.usda.gov. From this site, you can access summary data for Minnesota and all counties in Minnesota.
More specific data is also available for Minnesota and each county.
For Minnesota, the results show that the total number
of farms in Minnesota is 80,992, up from 80,839 in
2002. There are approximately 26.9 million acres in
farms, down 2 percent from 2002. The average size of
farm also decreased slightly from 340 acres per farm
in 2002 to 332 acres per farm in 2007. The average
market value per farm increased from $106,083 in
2002 to $162,738 in 2007. This was a 53% increase
in the market value of production. On average, farms
in Minnesota received $7,869 per farm in government
Within the United States, Minnesota ranks in the top 10 states in total value of agricultural products sold and value of livestock, poultry,
and their products. Minnesota is number 4 for the value of crops, including nursery and greenhouse crops. As for value of sales by
commodity group, Minnesota ranks in the top ten for grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas; other crops and hay; poultry and
eggs; cattle and calves; milk and other dairy products from cows; hogs and pigs; and other animals and other animal products.
Minnesota ranks first in the number of turkeys and first in the acres of sugarbeets grown for sugar.
The average farm production expense per farm in Minnesota is $127,425, while the average net cash farm income of operation per
farm in Minnesota is $48,498. There are 39,628 principal operators who list farming as their primary occupation, while 41,364 list
another occupation. Of all the principal operators, 73,631 are male and 7,361 are female. The average age of the principal operator
is 55.3 years old. The majority of operators in Minnesota classify themselves as white (116,149), while 413 are American Indian; 255
are Asian; 40 are Black or African America; 21 are Pacific Islander; 674 identified more than one race; and 507 identified themselves
as being of Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino origin.
For the first time, the 2007 Census of Agriculture included information on organic agriculture. In Minnesota, there are 636 farms
that sale organic products for a total of $39,976,000 in total organic products sales ($62,855 per farm). There are a total of 96,342
acres devoted to organic production. There are 74,299 acres from which organic crops were harvested, 15,146 acres of organic
pastureland and 20,702 acres of cropland being converted to organic production. Principal operators of organic operations are
mostly male, claim farming as their primary occupation, live on-farm, work at least 1 day off farm, have lived on their farm for 10 years
or more, and are between the ages of 45 and 59 years old. The average age of an organic operator is 51.1 years old, younger than
the average for all producers (55.3 years old).
If you have specific questions about the 2007 Census of Agriculture or need assistance finding information for your county, contact
Leah Duzy, Agricultural Economist, at 651-602-7867 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every additional gallon of water
that can be stored in the soil
through the use of conservation
measures means one gallon
less contributed to flood flows.
Hugh Hammond Bennett
PAUL BRIDGLAND HONORED WITH THE 2008 MINNESOTA - NRCS ENGINEER
By: John Brach, State Conservation Engineer
Paul Bridgland has demonstrated a commitment to innovative
design and technical leadership. This resourceful ﬁeld engineer has
consistently applied solid engineering to technical challenges over
34 plus years with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
When a ﬂood washed out the embankments of the Long Tom Dam,
Mr. Bridgland led the effort to design a replacement structure.
Within two years of construction, the site experienced another large
magnitude ﬂood and the structure had no damage, and damages were
This Area Engineer regularly handles a large volume of requests
for assistance for conservation engineering practices. In the past
three years, 228 engineering requests for assistance were received John Brach presenting Paul the “MINNESOTA NRCS
and addressed. Paul reviewed 55 designs developed by other Engineer of the Year 2008” award at the engineers
licensed engineers to ensure the design met NRCS standards and meeting this week in St. Cloud.
speciﬁcations. Mr. Bridgland’s oversight resulted in $5.5 million of
installed conservation engineering practices in three years under just one federal program.
Recent assistance to a Native American Community resulted in a $320,000 multi-sited erosion control project.
Interagency coordination is critical and is handled with diplomacy and tact.
Over the years, Paul Bridgland embraced and implemented innovative technology to improve engineering efﬁciency.
Mr. Bridgland is highly respected by coworkers, clients, and contractors.
Out of the long
list of nature’s
gifts to man,
none is perhaps so
to human life as
Hugh Hammond Bennett
DIGITOP, USDA’S DIGITAL DESKTOP LIBRARY!
By: Julie MacSwain, Public Affairs Specialist
You may be one of the hundreds of people who get the information they need--instantaneously--from
DigiTop, the USDA’s Digital Desktop Library. New and repeat DigiTop users made Fiscal Year 2008 a
banner year, downloading more than one million articles from authoritative journals as well as leading
newspapers and magazines. That’s a nearly 20 percent increase in DigiTop FY 2007 use!
Since it was ﬁrst launched in 2002, DigiTop has provided a whopping 4.5 million articles from its extensive
online resources, which today include more than 5,000 scientiﬁc journals, 1,600 news sources--including
600 U.S. newspapers and magazines--and 34 databases. Whether you’re working at your desk, at home, or
on the road, these DigiTop resources are just a mouse click away http://digitop.nal.usda.gov.
DigiTop is a service of the National Agricultural Library for USDA employees worldwide. If you have
questions or comments about how you can make DigiTop work for you, please contact the DigiTop Team
MASWCD RECOGNIZES CONSERVATION ACHIEVEMENTS
Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), local landowners and partners were recognized during the
MASWCD 72nd annual meeting for their conservation achievements. Congratulations to the following for their
dedication and expertise in the conservation arena:
• SWCD of the Year: Todd SWCD Supervisors & Staff
• SWCD Supervisor of the Year: Loyal Fisher, Renville
• SWCD Employee of the Year: Daryl Buck, Winona SWCD
• MASWCD Outstanding Conservationists of the Year: Verna
Peterson, Farwell, Minnesota, nominated by the Douglas
• MASWCD Legislator of the Year: Representative Rick
• MASWCD Friends of Conservation: Tim Koehler, NRCS, &
MASWCD Executive Director LeAnn Buck (far
Kevin Lines, BWSR
right) presents the 2009 Friends of Conserva-
tion Award to Tim Koehler (far left) and Kevin
Visit the MASWCD’s website: www.maswcd.org for photos of Lines (center) for their extraordinary efforts
additional award recipients. toward the combined Reinvest In Minnesota
(RIM) Program and federal Wetland Reserve
Program (WRP) partnership.
Cynthia Morales returns to NRCS
By: Julie MacSwain, Public Affairs Specialist
Cynthia Morales was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated
in 2003 from Humboldt Senior High School located in St. Paul. Cynthia’s
first introduction to agriculture occurred at a Humboldt High School Career
Day Event. It was through the Career Day event that Cynthia became aware
of opportunities that were available through the United States Department of
Cynthia was chosen by one her high school
teachers to apply for an internship with
NRCS. As a student intern she was under
the supervision of Laurie Otte, Management
Services Specialist at the MN NRCS State
Office. Laurie played a significant role in
laying the groundwork for Morales’ learning
and development of administrative duties. It
was through this experience that Morales
became interested in business rather than
nursing and decided to change her major to Business Management.
Morales left NRCS for about 2 years as she took a job with Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as an Office Automation Assistant.
In this position Morales was able to apply the knowledge gained working at
NRCS and also became more familiar with the administrative functions of the
Veterinary Service portion of APHIS. Recently she came back to NRCS as a
Financial Technician, reporting to Budget Officer, Bryan Welp.
Morales is grateful for the employment and the experiences she has built up
the past five years at USDA, APHIS and NRCS and plans to stay with the
USDA after she graduates this summer with a Bachelor of Science degree in
Business Management from Metropolitan State University in down-town St.
By: Julie MacSwain, Public Affairs Specialist
A network is a system of relationships in which people exchange information
and resources to achieve common goals or serve common interests. Net-
working is a process for expanding one’s resources. As an NRCS employee
in Minnesota, you have many opportunities to expand your Network.
For example, when you attend a meeting, consider sitting by someone else
that you don’t know or may want to get to know. Several years ago I did just
that at a Total Management Quality Course in Columbia, South Carolina. As
a result, I met several new NRCS employees and to-date I have kept in touch
with these employees for over the last 10 years. Simply sitting by someone
else at a meeting enabled me to expand my network!
Benefits of Networking include:
• Obtaining leads & Referrals.
• Raising knowledge & Awareness of NRCS.
• Sharing ideas and solving problems.
• Build strong relationships & Rapport with people.
• Increase efficiency & Productivity
Tips for successful Networking
• Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic,
building trust in relationships and seeing how you can help others.
• Ask yourself what your goals are when you go to a meeting.
• Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay vis-
ible & give back to others that have helped you!
• Ask open-ended questions when you network, such as: Ask who, what,
when and how as opposed to questions that have a simple yes or no.
• Become known as a powerful resource for others.
• Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help
Building your Network
Good networkers are always on the lookout for the opportunity to meet and
interact with people. See what you can do to expand your network as Net-
NICKOLE M. JACKSON
Hello everyone my name Nickole M. Jackson I
come to NRCS by way of the Forest Service in Golden
Colorado. I worked on specialized contract with the
Forest Service such as Fire and Aviation, Stewardship,
and some Technology Contracts. The Forest Service
treated me well and they will be missed however I was
ready to move on which is what brought me to Min-
nesota along with its great alternative energy laws. I
was a military dependent so if I had to claim a home Nickole Jackson
it would be Germany but only because that is where
we were the longest. Therefore I love German food but
my German is limited.
University of Maryland ES – Aviation Science
Masters – University of Denver – Project Management
Master–Webster University – Procurement and Acquisitions
Working toward my doctorates
Bike riding, puzzles, spending time with my son, board and card games,
reading, life long learner, spending time with extended family.
Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Food: Chinese
People with a lack of integrity, tight shoes, and filthy kitchens
LYON SWCD/NRCS COORDINATED A NEW SENIOR COLLEGE CLASS
By: Area 5 Office
The Lyon Soil and Water Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service ﬁeld
ofﬁce coordinated a new Senior College class Southwest Minnesota State University Senior College
class that shared conservation ideas with a group of senior citizens from throughout much of
The class brought together more than a dozen professional presenters from different public agencies.
Contributing presenters included Lyon SWCD Administrator Rose Anderson, Lyon NRCS District
Conservationist Jamie Thomazin, SMSU History Center coordinator Jan Louwagie, Area 5 NRCS Soil
Scientist Joe Kristoff, retired NRCS Area 5 Assistant State Conservationist Mike Appel, University
of Minnesota Extension Service crops and soils educator Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency hydrologist Kelli Daberkow, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener
Dianne Schmitt, Camden State Park Manager Bill Dinesen, NRCS Area 5 grazing specialist Lance
Smith, Lyon County Environmental Specialist Roger Schroeder, Lyon County Recycling Coordinator
Sharon Root, Agricultural Utilization Research Institute research chemist Doug Root and Minnesota
NRCS Outreach Coordinator Deb Walchluk.
The ﬁrst class session provided Senior College participants with an overview of natural resources
in relation to human activities. This was followed by classes that focused on soil protection, water
quality and habitat management. The ﬁfth class covered conservation as a tool for economic stability.
The ﬁnal wrap-up session explored the future potential of conservation efforts.
In addition to guest presentation, the class featured informational articles chosen from the NRCS web
site news article database. These provided case studies from throughout much of the United States
and several foreign countries to supplement the ﬁrst hand information from presenters. Another
component of the class included short classroom activities that stimulated elements of conservation
such as watersheds, shoreline preservation, habitat populations and home based water savings.
Students were also encouraged to visit ﬁve different environmental education and conservation sites
located in Marshall. These included the SMSU Natural History Museum, SMSU Greenhouse, SMSU
Wildlife Area, Lyon County Fairgrounds rain garden and the city of Marshall ﬂood control retention
pond north of SMSU.
Senior College is an SMSU supported activity for people ages 55 and older who wish to further their
education through non-credit classes. There are no tests or grades, and all out of class homework is
voluntary. Lyon SWCD/NRCS volunteered to provide the six session course as part of its educational
outreach efforts. Its education program offers school classroom visits, special ﬁeld day events,
presentations for youth and adult community groups, parent education activities and programs for
teachers and education students.
by: Vick Ruhland, (former Resource Conservationist, current Earth Team Volunteer)
This time of the year I tend to reflect on the date of 3-3-03 when I walked out of the office (at
3 minutes after 3 PM) as a retired SCS/NRCS employee.
I retired at age 70 with over 46 years of federal service all in Minnesota except for the army
Should I have been more mobile and thereby possibly achieve a few more promotions, also
possibly a better retirement pay. Minnesota is where I was born and grew to adulthood
(in fact the location being only some 50 miles from the state
office). had I done so I visualize my becoming more familiar
with soil and water problems in other parts of the country,
with other peoples and cultures not common in Minnesota. My
This time of the
spouse and I discussed our mobility often. As it turned out I year I tend to
remained in my home state. We were close to our parents, our
children were close to their grandparents, storage space for reflect on the date
my antique cars was workable, my helping to form and play
clarinet with the Bavarian Musikmeisters (a 30 piece band
of 3-3-03 when I
playing German band music) in the Twin Cities area as well as walked out of the
surrounding states are a few of the enjoyments made possible
for me by staying in Minnesota. I was most satisfied with my office (at 3 minutes
employment in Minnesota as evident by my working to age
R E- after 3 PM)
70. The added years to my total employment did enhance my
I was awarded degrees in Agriculture (Soils and Agricultural
Economics) from the University of Minnesota as part of my
formal education. Should I have pursued different fields? Coming with a farm background I
feel comfortable with the decision I made. The learning fit well with my employment positions
with the Service (Soil/Resource Conservationist and Agricultural Economist). Should I have
tried to earn a doctorate? I frequently reflect on that. Would I have had the ability to do
so? I could have gone slow enough to match my abilities. How long would it have taken?
Would it have increased my satisfaction/enjoyment in whatever employment would have
followed? Probably not. I did decide to pursue graduate work in agricultural economics. I feel
most comfortable with that decision and would recommend others to continue their formal
education including the graduate level. I was aware that financially I may not improved my
lot in life. However, as it turn out, the additional learning required of me along with the
temperament I have fit well, I feel, with my serving as a member of the water resources
planning staff for all these years. Having been a quiet person with few words to say I decided
to become involved with Toastmasters International, an organization for improving one’s
speaking abilities. I found it most helpful personally and would recommend it to others
regardless of their speaking abilities.
In preparation for retirement I participated in a number of available features worth
recommending to others. I have life insurance, the thrift saving account (not proud of its
recent performance), and saving bonds. I purchased long term health care (made available
to federal employees) and Part B (medical) of Medicare. My response to my wife is that even
with the protection I have, I hope I will never need it. I asked her if she hopes to have a car
accident just because we purchase car insurance. I think not.
My spouse stills works. It’s good for both of us. I have not yet faced a full-time spouse at
home together other than a few days at a time. We have done some traveling/touring and
hope to do more. Travel while you can is what we heard and agree with. In our case we buy
cancellation insurance. We never know when health issues as well as other problems will
arise. I currently take care of three grandchildren (all girls) on Thursdays - a 2-year old and
a 5-year old plus a 7-year old after school until one of the parent takes over. It’s a most
rewarding experience for me. Fortunately, they don’t live too far away so that this is possible.
My employment was in a field I believe in - a mission of sorts. It was more than just a job. It
goes without saying that if you do not enjoy your employment, it’s time for a change. I was
given the opportunity to write about the history of soil and water conservation in Minnesota
for which I’m most appreciative. I’m especially proud of the resulting publication. Upon
retirement I was given the opportunity to serve as a earth team volunteer covering primarily
historical issues that arise. Volunteering is an excellent way to keep informed and perform
the work of the agency. Some claim that the only reason for my coming to the office is to
play Schafkoph during the noon break with fellow card players. Would you believe that some
actually say that! VE
CIVIL RIGHTS COMMITTEE
By: Lakelle Pritchett, Engineer
I have recently accepted the honor and position to serve as the Minnesota NRCS State Civil Rights Committee
Chair. I began my career as an Agricultural Engineer with NRCS in August of 2005. After working in the
Area 6, St. Peter, MN Area ofﬁce for a little less than 2 years, I was promoted as an Agricultural Engineer to
the Area 4, Brooklyn Center, MN Area Ofﬁce. Area 4 has a constant commitment to promoting professional
development among its employees. It was with this support, that I was encouraged to apply for the MN NRCS
State Civil Rights Committee Chair position.
When asked why I wanted to become the State Civil Rights Chairperson, I stated: “… It takes an individual
who is able to listen to a concern, interpret a feasible solution, accept feedback from other parties, and ﬁlter
out negative criticism, in order to reach a positive solution. While I recognize that not all parties involved can
always be satisﬁed, all parties are owed respect. I plan to set this standard of reciprocity amongst staff members,
producers, and other members of the public as the NRCS Minnesota State Civil Rights Chairperson.”
The mission of the Minnesota Civil Rights Advisory Committee is to ensure compliance with Agency policies
for conservation and equal opportunity programs, and accountability for the delivery of quality and timely
services to our customers. In order to successfully carry out this mission the Committee has set concise goals
and objectives each to be carried out by a speciﬁed deadline. Training, Recruitment, Notiﬁcation, and Cultural
Resources Subcommittees have been created in order to specialize in areas to address the ﬁve goals of the 2009
Civil Rights Business Plan listed below:
Goal 1: Increased MN NRCS workforce diversity
Goal 2: Increased appreciation of all cultures and outreach
Goal 3: Increased knowledge of civil rights information and laws
Goal 4: Increased skill to complete civil rights activities
Goal 5: Increased recognition of excellence in civil rights
The Minnesota Civil Rights Advisory Committee is headed by Mr. William Hunt, and is comprised of
representatives from the following areas:
Area 1-John Anderson
Area 2-Jennifer Tischer
Area 3-Debra Hermel
Area 4-Katundra Shears
Area 5-JonPaul Pringle
Area 6-Brenda Tonn RE
Area 7-Kelly Oliver
Soils MLRA-Mike Walker
State Ofﬁce-Cutrina Moreland (Disability and Black SEPM)
American Indian Employment Program-David Wise
Hispanic Emphasis Program-Vacant
Advisors-Ann English, Gloria Larson, Debra Walchuk
I am pleased to work amongst such amiable, dedicated members and sponsors of the Civil Rights Advisory
Committee. I plan to serve them well and work towards emphasizing the signiﬁcance of Civil Rights during
my tenure as the Civil Rights Advisory Committee Chair.
WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH,
By: Lisa R. Buckner, Resource Conservation & Development Coordinator
Minnesota Federal Women’s Program Manager
With passion and courage, women have taught us that when we band together to advocate for our highest ideals,
we can advance our common well-being and strengthen the fabric of our Nation. Each year during Women’s History
Month, we remember and celebrate women from all walks of life who have shaped this great Nation. This year, in
accordance with the theme, “Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet,” we pay particular tribute to the efforts of
women in preserving and protecting the environment for present and future generations.
Ellen Swallow Richards is known to have been the ﬁrst woman in the United States to be accepted at a scientiﬁc
school. She graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1873 and went on to become a prominent
chemist. In 1887, she conducted a survey of water quality in Massachusetts. This study, the ﬁrst of its kind in
America, led to the Nation’s ﬁrst state water-quality standards.
Women have also taken the lead throughout our history in preserving our natural environment. In 1900, Maria Sanford
led the Minnesota Federation of Women’s Groups in their efforts to protect forestland near the Mississippi River,
which eventually became the Chippewa National Forest, the ﬁrst Congressionally mandated national forest. Marjory
Stoneman Douglas dedicated her life to protecting and restoring the Florida Everglades. Her book, The Everglades:
Rivers of Grass, published in 1947, led to the preservation of the Everglades as a National Park. She was awarded
the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993. Rachel Carson brought even greater attention to the environment by
exposing the dangers of certain pesticides to the environment and to human health. Her landmark 1962 book, Silent
Spring, was ﬁercely criticized for its unconventional perspective. As early as 1963,however, President Kennedy
acknowledged its importance and appointed a panel to investigate the book’s ﬁndings.
Silent Spring has emerged as a seminal work in environmental studies. Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of
Freedom posthumously in 1980. Grace Thorpe, another leading environmental advocate, also connected environmental
protection with human well-being by emphasizing the vulnerability of certain populations to environmental hazards.
In 1992, she launched a successful campaign to organize Native Americans to oppose the storage of nuclear waste
on their reservations, which she said contradicted Native American principles of stewardship of the earth. She also
proposed that America invest in alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity, solar power, and wind power.
These women helped protect our environment and our people while challenging the status quo and breaking social
barriers. Their achievements inspired generations of American women and men not only to save our planet, but also
to overcome obstacles and pursue their interests and talents. They join a long and proud history of American women
leaders, and this month we honor the contributions of all women to our Nation.
2009 BLACK HISTORY MONTH POSTER WINNER (DEVIE PERRY, NHQ)
Each February we celebrate Black History Month, recognizing the progress, richness, and diversity of African
American achievements. This year’s theme, “The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas,” continues this
celebration. Devie Perry, Visual Information Specialist, National Headquarters was named the winner of the 2009
Black History Month Poster contest.
Black History Links
Black History Month 2009
(The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship)
http://afgen.com/king.html “I Have a Dream” (full text)
http://afgen.com/pioneer.html (African American Pioneers)
(Encyclopedia Britannica’s Guide to Black History)
(The African American History Challenge)
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/news/lifestyles/links/ I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince,
potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the
bhistory_crossword/ Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and
allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform
noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national
importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation
(The Black History Month Crossword Puzzle) or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
An equal opportunity employer and provider.
(The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center) Devie Perry, has been awarded First place for
her Black History Month Poster entry. As the
http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bhm1.html contest winner, Ms. Perry will receive $300.00
(An array of information on Black History) and her poster will serve as the agency’s official
poster for 2009 Black History Month activities.
Ms. Perry’s winning entry can be accessed at http://www.
AREA 1 REPORT
GLEN KAJEWSKI, ASTC(FO)
THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN
Web Soil Survey (WSS) Workshops in Area I
By: Manuel Matos
Starting in January 2009, several training sessions were held throughout Area I to promote the WSS new features,
reports and interpretations. Targeted groups were employees from NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Farm
Service Agency, and other partners involved in making land-use and management decisions (see table 1).
Each workshop consisted of a general overview of the soil survey program, a live demonstration of Web Soil Survey,
and ended with several class exercises. All the workshops were coordinated by the District Conservationists, SWCD
personnel and Area Resource Soil Scientist.
This outreach effort included 14 presentations with over 120 individuals being trained on how to get soils information
using the Web Soil Survey.
To see the new WSS version 2.1 visit, http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov.
Web Soil Survey Training Participants
MN Department of Transportation
County Natural Resources Dept.
MN Department of Natural Resources
Technical Service Providers
US Forest Service
US Fish and Wildlife Service
University Of Minnesota Extension Service
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Farm Service Agency
Manuel Matos, Area 1 Resource Soil Scientist Real Estate Companies
while conducting web soil survey presenta-
tion to Pennington County soil survey users
in Thief River Falls, MN.
New Office Space in Mahnomen
By Glen Kajewski, ASTC-FO, Thief River Falls
The Mahnomen FO is enjoying the luxury of new office
space. NRCS, FSA and the Mahnomen SWCD moved to
the new location in January. Features of the new building
include a centrally located conference room, open layout,
geothermal heating/cooling, and easy access/visibility on
Hwy 59. An Open house was held in early February and
numerous producers, town folks and city officials came to
check out the new space. Much time was spent planning
and preparing for the move but the end result was well worth
AREA 1 REPORT
Casey Olson, is the new Giziibii RC&D Coordinator. Prior to accepting the Coordinator position,
Casey was the Soil Survey Project Leader in the International Falls Soil Survey Ofﬁce. Welcome to
Area 1 Casey.
Elizabeth Adamek, accepted the SCT position in the Baudette FO and began work on February 2,
2009. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Beth taught high school agriculture and
also worked 3 seasons at Voyageurs National Park. Welcome to NRCS Beth.
Mark Larson, was selected for the SCT position in the Hallock FO and began his new duties
on January 20, 2009. Mark is a University of MN - Crookston graduate and had worked for the
Minnesota DNR prior to coming to NRCS. Welcome to NRCS Mark.
Kayla Bowe, is the newest member of the Bemidji FO team. Kayla is and intermittent employee
(WAE) assisting the Bemidji FO.
Congratulations to Lisa Zluticky, Soil Conservation Technician – Mahnomen FO, on being
converted from the federal career intern program to a career conditional appointment
Gwen Kappes accepted a RC&D Coordinator position in North Dakota and vacated the Warren DC
position in early March. Eric Anderson is the acting District Conservationist in the Warren FO at
Congratulations to Wes Drake, Agricultural Engineer, Travis Doeden, Soil Conservation
Technician, and Tom Simpson, Soil Conservation Technician on recent promotions.
NON MONETARY AWARDS
Various employees are being recognized with a variety of items for their contributions during the
Giziibii RC&D Coordinator vacancy. Their extra effort was greatly appreciated in keeping the ofﬁce
and projects running smoothly during the transition. Larry Voltz, Doug Miller, Cari Rebischke,
Happy Micheau, Karen Mueller, Russell Kleinschmidt.
The Roseau FO and SWCD staff, John Anderson, Michael Steinhauer, Bonnie Hasbrouck,
Janine Lovold, Scott Johnson, and Peggy Swart are being recognized with a Howard Miller Alarm
clock for three years of successful partnership with the Pembina trail RC&D to plan and implement
the northwest Minnesota grazing tour.
AREA 2 REPORT
COLLEEN OESTREICH, ASTC(FO)
FERGUS FALLS, MN
HAITI, A TRIP OF A LIFETIME
By Jeff Norby, Soil Conservation Technician Detroit Lakes Field Office
In early December I had the opportunity and privilege
to travel to the country of Haiti. Haiti is, it is located
approximately 750 miles southeast of Florida (1.5 hrs by
plane) on the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with
the Dominican Republic. Haiti is just a little smaller
than the state of Maryland with approximately twice
the population (however, I am told by people living
there that the current population estimate of 9 million is
low). Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean,
behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and is one
ff N b i h ki d l h l
Jeff Norby with a kindergarten class at a school, of the most densely populated countries in the world.
in the capital of Port Au’ Prince, where TeacHai-
ti sponsors a number of children (sponsorship The majority of Haiti’s population is concentrated in
includes tuition, books, and lunch.
urban areas, coastal plains, and valleys. Haiti is very
mountainous, its name coming from a word that means
The primary focus of my trip was to spend time with
Miquette Denie, founder and director of TeacHaiti, a
non-proﬁt organization whose mission is to provide
education scholarships to those who wouldn’t otherwise
have the opportunity to get an education. As a member
of the board of directors of TeacHaiti, the purpose of
h t h f th i t l
photo shows some of the environmental prob- b my trip was to meet with students and their families,
lems facing Haiti, in this case- a river polluted and to explore possibilities to further the work and
with garbage and severe sedimentation.
effectiveness of TeacHaiti.
During my trip I also met with an individual interested
in an agricultural project. Through this contact, I had the
opportunity to view current farming practices and to meet
with several farmers. Statistically, a large percentage of
Haiti’s population is involved in subsistence agriculture.
The majority of farmers work very small plots (less than
5 acres) using labor intensive methods (hand tools).
The land I observed was continuously cropped, used no
agricultural inputs, and was a rotation of sweet peas,
The pic taken in the agricultural setting is of some
h i t k i th i lt l tti i f
edible beans, and millet (also scattered mango plants).
farmers hand pulling weeds (farming practices, for The soils appeared very weathered and aged.
the masses, remain simple and increasingly unpro-
AREA 2 REPORT
With all the human misery and environmental destruction
one sees in Haiti, it is easy to come away with a feeling of
despair and hopelessness. Personally, that is exactly how
I felt after my ﬁrst trip to the Haiti in 2007, but this time
it was different. After meeting with students, families,
school administrators, and seeing their hope for the future
and gratitude, I came away encouraged and deeply touched.
I hope to return to Haiti on a regular basis to solidify the
positive impact American contributions are making through
ff b i h little i l i h f h
Jeff Norby with a li l girl is another of the
students that we’re (TeacHaiti) sponsoring (the
opportunity for an education is bringing hope
to a new generation of Haiti’s youth).
Stanley Musielewicz, DC, Little Falls Field Ofﬁce has retired.
William Marken, GIS Specialist, Fergus Falls Area Ofﬁce has accepted a promotion with the
NRCS National Cartography and Geospatial Center in Fort Worth.
Jennifer Tischer, Accounting Technician, Fergus Falls Area Ofﬁce received a promotion.
Lenore Marken, Wetland Specialist, Fergus Falls Area Ofﬁce has resigned.
Steve Lutes, Resource Conservationist, Long Prairie Field ofﬁce has been reassigned to the Little
Falls Field Ofﬁce.
Steve Linow, Civil Engineering Technician, Elbow Lake Field Ofﬁce received a promotion.
Luke Klawitter, was selected for the Soil Conservation Technician position in the Wheaton Field
Ryan Haspel, was selected for the Soil Conservation Technician position in the Breckenridge Field
Steve Girard, Civil Engineering Technician, Long Prairie Field Ofﬁce, his appointment has been
Jeff Duchene, was selected for the Grazing Specialist in the Perham Field Ofﬁce.
Keith Kloubec, DC, Wheaton Field Ofﬁce was reassigned to Area 4.
AREA 2 REPORT
Mark Hayek, Grazing Specialist, Detroit Lakes Field ofﬁce has been reassigned to Area 1.
Ivan Reinke, Soil Conservation Technician, Wadena Field Ofﬁce, received a promotion.
Troy Baumgart, Soil Conservation Technician, Perham Field Ofﬁce, received a promotion.
Ryan Haspel, Soil Conservation Technician, Breckenridge Field ofﬁce, received a promotion.
Jeff Norby received a NRCS employee during a recent future wetland restorations.
coffee mug for being the training session.
Area 2 February Employee Lenore Marken received
of the Month for sharing Steve Lutes received a a CD Clock Radio for
his experience from a trip NRCS soft sided briefcase being very helpful with the
to Haiti at an Area 2 all due to a TSP writing a letter wetlands and compliance
employee meeting. recognizing the outstanding issues in Traverse County.
work that Steve has done.
Russell Plumb received a Ivan Reinke received
NRCS coffee mug for being Randy Schmiesing received a Barn Coat for his
the Area 2 January Employee a Barn Coat for the work he outstanding grazing
of the Month for taking did on 9 wetland restorations, technical assistance.
the lead in providing ﬁrst monitoring completed wetland
aid assistance to a fellow restorations, and work done for
The following employees received awards for getting the late rate down:
Mark Dybdal Rich Geving Mary Reetz
Todd Braun Julie Reberg Ed Musielewicz
Jeff Norby Drew Mosburg Brent Gulbrandson
Jeff Lepp Jon Frie Craig Bower
Melissa Behrens Stan Musielewicz Terry Zapzalka
Jim Fritz Darlene Drayna Shannon Rasinski
Sharon Lean Nancy Alexander Jeff Hellermann
Randy Schmiesing Bruce Becker Troy Baumgart
Jim Pendroy Russell Kleinschmidt Ivan Reinke
Rick Schossow Keith Kloubec Andrea Horsman
Jenny Tischer Bob Koltes
Employees received a dress shirt for effective communication during the leadership transition in Area 2.
Employees received a Photo Frame for their diligence and efforts in keeping their timesheets up to date
Outstanding Awards were received by Ivan Reinke, Brent Gulbrandson, and Mark Hayek. 21
AREA 3 REPORT
KEVIN DAW, ASTC(FO)
AREA 3 SOIL SURVEY UPDATE
By: Roger Risley, MLRA Soil Project Leader, Duluth MN.
Two of the top priorities for the Soil Survey Division at the
national level are (1) completing the initial mapping of the
United States and (2) stafﬁng the 145 MLRA soil survey
ofﬁces. Four of these ofﬁces are in Minnesota; the ofﬁce
in Duluth has responsibility for all soil survey activities
in northeastern Minnesota (Area 3) and northwestern
Northeastern Minnesota has some of the most remote
territory in the area, and a soil survey inventory is yet to
be completed in much of the area. This article describes
the plans for completing this inventory and the status of
other projects in the area.
The map shows the personnel involved in the
completion of initial mapping in Area 3.
SOIL SURVEY BLITZKRIEG
NRCS will re-deploy soil scientists with “shovels ready” to complete the initial mapping of Koochiching
County. Casey Olsen, listed as Project Leader in Koochiching County, has switched careers as of March
1st. The managerial duties for this project will be taken over by Larissa Schmidt. The initial mapping is
expected to be completed in July 2009 as the result of an incredible team undertaking. Area Resource
Soil Scientists, soil scientists from the Region 10 MLRA Ofﬁce staff, and out-of-state detailees are
scheduled to assist with the project this spring with leadership, direction, and cooperation from Bill
Hunt, State Conservationist; all ASTC-FOs; Joe McCloskey, Region 10 MLRA Leader; and other out-
of-state managers. Thank you all in advance for your cooperation, support, and expertise.
AREA 3 REPORT
Joseph LeBlanc, was selected for the Civil Engineering Technician position at the Grand Rapids FO.
Welcome aboard, Joey!
Jessica Weis, Soil Scientist, Duluth SSO, was reassigned to the Willmar FO as a Soil Conservationist
effective January 5, 2009.
Jennifer Hahn, Soil Conservation Technician, North Branch FO, was reassigned to the Sandstone
SSO as a Soil Scientist effective January 20, 2009.
Casey Olson, Soil Survey Project Leader, International Falls SSO, was selected for the Giziibii
RC&D Coordinator position, effective March 2, 2009.
Janine Milbradt, Soil Scientist, Duluth SSO, was reassigned to the Sandstone SSO effective
March 16, 2009.
Best wishes to Jessica, Jennifer, Casey, and Janine as they pursue their new endeavors!
HISTORIC CONSERVATION PHOTO
Gail Bong, Soil Conservation
Technician, Duluth FO. Our
hearty congratulations, Gail!
On a personal note…
Bundle of joy…
Congratulations to: Jessica
Olson, Agricultural Engineer,
Area Ofﬁce, and her husband
on the birth of their daughter
Heidi Evelyn born December Close up of ditch blasted to demonstrate method of improving marshes for muskrates
29, 2008. 7/15/1946
Photographer: W.L. Anderson
AREA 4 REPORT
TIMOTHY WILSON, ASTC(FO)
BROOKLYN CENTER, MN
AREA 4 NATIONAL AUDIT
By: Tim Wilson, ASTC Brooklyn Center
William Hunt, State Conservationist assisted in the Paul Bunyan like task at the Elk River Field Ofﬁce
during the National Audit. Hunt assisted in the answering of the 14 questions for the EQIP program.
This provided our State Conservationist with a hands-on opportunity to responding to the audit questions
that the ﬁeld, area and state ofﬁce employees had worked on .
N only did Mr. Hunt assist in the Audit, but as the
P Bunyan like State Conservationist, He and the rest
o the MN NRCS employees involved in the audit met
th challenge and accomplished the December 31, 2008
State Conservationist,William Hunt is hard at work
loading the first audit data at the Elk River Field
Office, November 26, 2008.
William Hunt, Timothy Wilson, Stan
Wendland, and John Crellin spent ½ day at
the Elk River Field Ofﬁce reviewing contract
folders, answering the 14 audit questions, Timothy Wilson (Area 4, Assistant State Conserva-
and loading the data into the “ROOT Review tionist) and John Crellin (Area Resource Conserva-
tionist) reviewing the 14 questions.
of Open Obligations Tool” program.
Rumor has it, that Mr. Hunt was able to
answer the 14 questions in record time.
AREA 4 REPORT
SCOTT SWCD OUTSTANDING CONSERVATIONIST
By: Diane Hrabe, Communications Specialist, Scott SWCD
Bob Adamek of Elko was recently honored as local conservationist of the year at the annual
meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts held in St. Paul
from December 7 - 9, 2008. He was selected by the Scott Soil and Water Conservation District
(SWCD) for the award. Each year, the state’s SWCDs recognize individuals and organizations
for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving
Minnesota’s natural resources. The award program is conducted with support from The Farmer
According to Ewald Gruetzmacher, Scott Board of Supervisors
Chairman, Adamek was recognized for a variety of reasons,
including the many conservation practices he has implemented
since taking over the family farm in 1973. He has rain barrels
near his shed, bluebird houses throughout his property, CRP
acres planted with native big-stem grasses, food plots for
pheasants, two wildlife ponds, eight wood duck houses, buffer
strips in his cropland, a newly installed tiling system, numerous
tree plantings and a sturdy windbreak of conifers. Any season
of the year, deer, pheasant and other wildlife ﬁnd refuge in the
natural setting of his 95-acre farm that has been in his family
Adamek has worked closely with Scott County and the Scott
SWCD staff on funding
opportunities as well as
The Farmer editor, Paula Mohr
congratulating Bob Adamek, Scott and other conservation
SWCD’s Outstanding Conservation-
ist of the Year. measures through the
years. He is an advocate
for food plots for pheasants and volunteers for a number
of projects in partnership with area sportsmen’s clubs. In
2007, Adamek decided to do something about the eroding
banks of Porter Creek, which runs through his property in
Cedar Lake Township. Working closely with the district
staff, the side slopes of the creek were reshaped. Cedar-tree
revetments were used to strengthen the toe of the creek. Live
willow stakes and coconut erosion-control blankets also
helped shore up and protect the streambank from further
erosion. “We’re very proud of Bob and what he has done
for conservation in Scott County,” Gruetzmacher summed
B b Ad k
up. “He provides a wonderful example for conservationists
throughout the county and the state.”
AREA 4 REPORT
Wendy Beliveau, Sherburne SWCD, District Manager retired September 30, 2008, after 23 years as
the District Manager.
Dave Rickert, Biomass Conservation Technician was hired December 15, 2008. He divides his time
among the following counties: Scott, Le Sueur, Rice, Dakota, and Carver SWCD’s. His primary role
is to assist landowners with conservation programs that involve grass and woody biomass production
for bio-energy facilities.
Keith Kloubec, District Conservationist transferred from Wheaton to Waconia effective January 18,
Francine Larson, Sherburne SWCD was hired in January 2009 as the new Administrative Assistant.
Chessa Ossefort, joined the Waite Park ofﬁce as an Earth Team Volunteer in late January. Chessa
is attending St. Cloud State University majoring in Environmental Studies in pursuit of a job in
Kimberly Thielen, Cremers, Mississippi River Coordinator was hired by the Stearns SWCD with
the support of the Mid Minnesota Mississippi River RC&D. The SWCD in partnership with other
public and private organizations were awarded a McKnight grant to fund this position. The goals of
the position are to create a shared vision for how we can ensure the natural functions and values of the
Mississippi can be sustained into the future.
Katie Mahannah, started working at Waconia as an Earth Team Volunteer on February 2, 2009. Katie
has a degree in Biosystems Engineering.
Rodney Aaron, Civil Engineering Technician transferred from Fulton, Missouri to Brooklyn Center,
MN effective February 15, 2009.
Judy Shermak, Sherburne SWCD, District Clerk retired February 19, 2009, after 20 years with the
The Ramsey Conservation District is sad to announce that on December 16, 2008, Maryjane Regan, a
long-time Supervisor for the Ramsey Conservation District Board passed away.
AREA 5 REPORT
GARY WATSON, ASTC-FO
By: Gary Watson, ASTC
If someone would ask me who my unsung hero is? It would only take me a second to think, that it is
Deb Hansen! the SCT in Ortonville. She is not only a ﬁghter but a dedicated employee.
After returning home from taking care of her son who was wounded in Iraq, she was diagnosed with
cancer. Deb has had several surgeries and many hours of treatments, yet she always thinks positive
when the doctor gives her his results. No matter the battle, she’s always determined to take care of
the job which she is assigned.
Please join me in thanking one of the unsung hero’s in area ﬁve, Deb Hansen! for her hard work and
continued dedication to the NRCS and for her positive attitude.
A big thank you to everyone who has donated leave. Your support gives Deb one less thing to worry
BIG STONE COUNTY SUPERVISOR REMEMBERED AND RECOGNIZED FOR YEARS OF
SERVICE TO RC&D COUNCIL
By: Krecia Leddy
Irvin Adelman, Big Stone SWCD’s representative
on the Prairie Country Resource Conservation
and Development (RC&D) Council received an
award at Prairie Country’s Annual Meeting held
on January 11, 2009. Irvin received the award for
“Twenty Years of Dedicated Service to the RC&D
Sadly Irvin recently passed away on March 4, 2009.
He was a longtime Soil and Water Conservation
District Supervisor serving 30 years for the Lac qui
Parle District and 10 years for the Big Stone Soil
and Water Conservation District.
AREA 5 REPORT
Irvin served on the WesMin RC&D Council for 10 years prior to the split off of nine counties from
WesMin and the formation of Prairie Country in 1991. Irvin has served an additional 10 years on the
Prairie Country Council. The RC&D Council consists of one SWCD representative and one County
Board representative from each of Prairie Country’s nine counties.
The RC&D also assisted with projects in Big Stone County including the Bonanza Learning Center,
the Pomme de Terre River Watershed Project, several dry hydrant projects and a grazing tour.
NRCS SHOWCASED SW MN GIS GROUP “HOW TO ACCESS SOIL DATA”
By: Area 5 Office
Joe Kristoff, Area Soil Scientist and Beth
Collins, Area GIS Specialist, gave a presentation
on January 11, 2009 on Using Soil Databases to
the SW MN GIS User Group. This group meets
quarterly to discuss issues in GIS in SW MN.
Members include county, DNR, SMSU and
The presentation showed attendees the different
ways to access soil data. First shown was Web
Soil Survey. Web Soil Survey allows the user to
identify an area of interest and obtain all the soil
information about that area. Next demonstrated
was Soil Data Mart. This site allows the user to
download the entire county soils data. Once the
data is downloaded, you need to be able to access
the data tables. Joe Kristoff demonstrating aspects of the
The main part of the presentation was showing
attendees how to query the different tables in the
soil database. If the standard queries don’t answer your question, you need to develop a query
that will. Different tables and the information each contains were discussed and then queries were
developed. Once the ﬁnal data was set, it was added to a GIS project and a map was created.
AREA 5 REPORT
2009 BEEF COW/CALF DAY
By: Jerry Purdin, District Conservationist, Pipestone Field Office.
The University of Minnesota Beef Team hosted a Beef Cow/Calf Day in Pipestone, MN on February
18, 2009. The program was held at Minnesota West Community and Technical College and ran
from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. There were 58 people in attendance, including 8 NRCS personnel from 7
counties. It was an excellent opportunity for NRCS employees to reach potential clients for planning
and/or technical assistance.
The Cow/Calf Day program was designed to address some of the current issues facing today’s cow/
calf producers and this year’s theme was “Cow Size”. Many of the topics of this year’s Cow/Calf
Day were aimed at helping producers to take a closer look at cow size and to help determine what
size cow would be ideal for different producers in different situations.
Ryon Walker, U of M Beef Team, addressed the topic of “Functionality of Cow Size” and Dr. Alfredo
DiCostanzo gave a talk titled, “Nutritional Effects on Cow Size.” These two lectures speciﬁcally
addressed cow size and it’s impact on beef cow/calf operations. In addition, Dr. Grant Crawford
lectured on “Post-Weaning Calf Management”. Other topics of the day included a discussion about
emerging issues in the beef industry, and current updates from the U of M Beef Team. A short
presentation by NRCS addressing EQIP and the beneﬁts of rotational grazing was delivered.
Beef Cattle Program Proceedings and Research Extension Reports are available on CD from the U of
M Extension Service. This CD covers the Beef Cattle Program Proceedings from 1993-2009.
FARM BUREAU YOUNG FARMERS & RANCHERS CONFERENCE
By: Area 5 Office
Minnesota Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference held in Redwood Falls on January
31, 2009. Gary Watson, ASTC(FO), provided information to over 100 farmers in two sessions on
the 2008 Farm Bill.
AREA 5 REPORT
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE PROGRAM IN COTTONWOOD COUNTY
By: Area 5 Office
2009 will be the fourth year that Cottonwood County has participated in the Nutrient Management
Initiative Program sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in collaboration with
the MN Department of Agriculture. This particular program is designed for farmers to compare
their nutrient management recommendations to that of the University of MN recommendation that
NRCS uses for its Nutrient Management practice under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program
Farmers use a side-by-side comparison plot replicated 3 times. Comparison between the farmer’s
rate, NRCS rate and a check rate of zero is used. The farmer’s rate and the NRCS rate must differ by
at least 30 pounds.
Farmers in Cottonwood County found that in 2008 the extra pounds of nutrients applied did not
economically pay. On average, the check rate strips produced 73 percent of the actual yield of
the NRCS rates. For Cottonwood County the 3 nitrogen sites applied at NRCS rates yielded more
than the farmer’s rate. For full results of the program you can go to http://www.mda.state.mn.us/
The program has been expanded in 2009 to include all counties in Areas 4, 5, 6 and 7. Farmers
receive $1200 for their efforts of completing the research plot.
SWCD PARTNERSHIP COMPLETED SCANNING SLIDES IN JACKSON COUNTY
By: Area 5 Office
Every ofﬁce has had the opportunity to view the old Farm Service Agency (FSA) slides to assist in
making a wetland determination. This was a time consuming process where each slide was placed in
a projector to view the area in question. This viewing could result in looking at nearly 20 slides and
a couple of hours of time.
A couple of years ago Jackson County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) volunteered their
time to scan all available slides on to a disk. Sonja Dowd, Jackson County SWCD administrative
clerk, worked at this task for over a year. She was able to do this when her normal duties were
Because of the cooperation between Jackson County SWCD and the NRCS ofﬁce, Jackson County
has a complete set of scanned slides of the whole county.
On a recent review of slides for a determination, the review time was 15 minutes. Before the scanned
slides it would take an hour or more. Joel Poppe, DC, thanked Sonja and the Jackson SWCD for their
time and cooperation to get this task completed.
AREA 5 REPORT
MARSHALL AO EARTH TEAM VOLUNTEER LITA BULLERMAN RECOGNIZED IN
By: Area 5 Office
Lita Bullerman, an Earth Team Volunteer (ETV)
at the Area Ofﬁce, was recognized for her
assistance in shredding PII information during
2008. Mike Nienaber handed her a NRCS ﬂeece
blanket and a certiﬁcate of appreciation.
L-R Gary Watson ASTC(FO); Lita Bullerman,
volunteer; Sandy Jerzak, AAC and Mike
Nienaber, ETV Area 5 Rep
RAY GENRICH RETIREMENT
By: Area 5 Office
Gary Watson presented Ray Genrich with his 36 years of
service plaque with the Natural Resources Conservation
Service before the potluck on December 18, 2008. Potluck/
small retirement party was hosted by the area ofﬁce. Area 6
soil scientist Doug Miller, MLRA coordinator Tom Jackson,
retired ASTC Mike Appel, retired soil scientist Hilding
Hokanson surprised Ray with their visit and a few memories
was shared with the group. Ray ofﬁcially retired from NRCS
on January 3, 2009.
AREA 5 REPORT
Area 5 welcomes New Employees: Karen
Boysen began her duties as SCT in the
Windom FO on October 13, 2008.
Dale Theil, District Technician in North
Dakota, crossed the state line to join the
MN NRCS team in Lakeﬁeld, MN on
October 27, 2008 as a SCT.
Welcome aboard, Karen and Dale!
On October 27, 2008, Steven Schemel, Clarkﬁeld SCT, was promoted to Civil Engineering
Technician and works out of the Montevideo ﬁeld ofﬁce. Congratulations, Steve!
Stephanie McLain, Mankato DC, was selected for the DC position in Worthington. After her
maternity leave, Stephanie will begin her duties in Worthington on March 16, 2009. We welcome
Stephanie and her family to our area.
On January 5, 2009, Jon Paul Pringle, Madison SCT, was reassigned to the Clarkﬁeld FO.
David Wise for his contributions to the PMC Tribal Assistance Products project.
Kelly Heather, DC in Redwood Falls, decided to take an opportunity to work for the Redwood
County Environmental Ofﬁce. Her last day was February 13, 2009. Kelly had about four years in
with NRCS. Rich Giles, Water Quality Specialist, will be Acting DC.
Jamie Thomazin is the Acting RC&D Coordinator for the Conteau des Priaries RC&D at the start of
the new ﬁscal year.
Beth Collins was reappointed as the Federal Women’s Program Area 5 representative effective when
Kelly Heather resigned.
AREA 6 REPORT
KASEY TAYLOR, ASTC(FO)
ST. PETER, MN
GLACIAL RIDGE TRAIL SCENIC BYWAY
By: Prairie Country RC&D
The Glacial Ridge Trail Committee is pursuing the development of a birding/watchable wildlife brochure
to go along with promotion of the Trail. Wildlife watchers are currently spending some big dollars
in Minnesota. In 2006, wildlife watching in Minnesota resulted in expenditures of $698,889,000 of
which $271,493,000 was trip related including food, lodging and travel. The proposed brochure will
outline birds that can be found within the Trail corridor, viewing locations and interesting information
on the predominant bird species. The committee is also moving ahead with their $87,000 Scenic
Byway Grant which will provide historic signage and informational kiosks along the Trail.
DRY HYDRANT PROJECT
Prairie Country RC&D was ﬁscal agent for the MARC&D Statewide Dry Hydrant Grant and closed
it out on September 30, 2008. The grant funded 92 hydrant projects statewide for a total of $228,296.
Prairie Country installed 49 hydrants through the grant totalaling $124,560 which was matched by
over $155,000 worth of in-kind contributions.
NRCS EMPLOYEE NAMED FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Steve Breaker, District Conservationist, isn’t the oldest
member of the Le Sueur Fire Department.
He isn’t the tallest. He hasn’t been with the department
the longest. But according to his fellow ﬁreﬁghters, in
2008 Breaker was one of the best. On Feb. 14 Breaker
was named Fireﬁghter of the Year.
AREA 6 REPORT
Jessica Weis, Soil Conservationist, was reassigned to the Willmar Field Ofﬁce, effective January 4,
Jaime Schaunaman, was promoted to a District Conservationist and will begin in the St. Peter
Field Ofﬁce on March 30, 2009.
Stephanie and Jeffrey McLain have a new addition to their family, Samantha Paige, was born on
December 22 @ 7:27 am. She weighed 8lbs and 9 ounces and was 21 ½ inches long.
Melissa and Roderick Dukes have a new addition to their family. Nevaeh Renae, was born on
December 30, 2008 @ 11:12 am. She weighed 7lbs 12 ounces and was 21 inches long.
HISTORIC CONSERVATION PHOTO
1948 - The Nelson farm is planted largely to orchard with trees on sloping land on
the contour. On the left slope the space between young trees is planted to grain and
corn. Some of the level land is in grain, corn and truck crops. Houston County, MN;
Geo. Nelson, Owner; La Crescent, MN
Photographer: W.H. Lathrop
AREA 7 REPORT
JOHN NICOLSON, ASTC(FO)
MIDWEST VALUE ADDED AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE
By: Julie MacSwain, Public Affairs Specialist
The Hiawatha Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D)
and River Country RC&D Councils held a two-day Midwest Value
Added Agriculture Conference January 22 and January 23, 2009.
This year’s conference theme was “Profiting from Renewable
Energy & Regional Food. The event took place at the Mayo Civic
Center in Rochester, Minnesota and was the 11th year for this
People interested in value-added enterprises attended this
conference. The two day conference featured workshop
sessions on marketing, business management, regional food,
and bio-energy topics. Conference presenters included many
farm entrepreneurs, industry professionals and
L-R William Hunt, State Conservationist; George
Swentik, MARC&D; and Debra Walchuk Outreach
representatives from government and non-governmental
organizations from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin Locally
grown foods were showcased at all meals and breaks during the
conference. Over 220 people attended this year’s conference in
The Tradeshow offered a wide variety of exhibitors providing
educational information and materials. Several local agricultural
L-R Thomas Steiger, District Conservationist,
Goodhue FO visits with John Beckwith, Water
Resources Staff Leader during a conference break
entrepreneurs showcased their locally grown agricultural
products. Conference breaks occurred in the exhibit are providing
ample opportunities for conference attendees to network and
obtain additional resources to make their agricultural operation
L-R Gary Watson, ASTC-Opreations, Marshall MN
and Jamie Thomazin, District Conservationist from
the Marshall FO attended the MW Value Added
AREA 7 REPORT
Debra Walchuk, MN NRCS State Outreach Coordinator served
as one of the conference break-out speakers. Walchuk gave a
brief presentation on the 2008 Farm Bill and shared a synopsis
of the programs NRCS will be involved in. Additionally, Walchuk
shared NRCS resource tools with the audience, including:
EFOTG, Energy estimators for animal housing, irrigation and
other technical information. Employees from the Farm Service
Agency and Rural Development provided details on programs
their agency will be utilizing in 2009. Numerous handouts were
made available for those in attendance at the workshop.
The purpose of the Resource Conservation and Development
(RC&D) program is to accelerate the conservation, development
and utilization of natural resources, improve the general level
L-R William Hunt, State Conservationist and Wally of economic activity, and to enhance the environment and
Hildebrandt, Hiawatha RC&D reconnected during standard of living in designated RC&D areas. It improves the
the MW Value Added Conference. capability of State, tribal and local units of government and local
nonprofit organizations in rural areas to plan, develop and carry
out programs for resource conservation and development. The
program also establishes or improves coordination systems in
HISTORIC CONSERVATION PHOTO
Demonstration of soil types. Teachers and superintendent of the Owatonna School,
County AGent of Steele County, J.R. Gute and Frank D. MArtin, District Conservationist.
Photographer: Frances K. Stark
AREA 7 REPORT
Charlie Blackburn, entered on Duty, January 5, 2009 as the Soil Conservation Technician in the
Rochester Field Ofﬁce. Charle is a native from Rochester and had previously worked in Iowa.
Welcome to Area 7 Charlie!
Leslie Diaz Alvarez, Soil Conservationist from the Rochester Field Ofﬁce will be transferring to
Farmington Field Ofﬁce effective March 29, 2009. Farmington will be Leslie’s second duty station as
a Soil Conservationist trainee. Good Luck Leslie!
Area 7’s Civil Rights committee is working on planning the ﬁrst “Conservation Day for Women on
the Farm” in August. We plan to have the training/information session at Quarry Hill Nature Center
to include topics such as: Invasive Species Control, Rain Gardens, Estate planning and Rain Barrels.
We will continue the planning efforts and have brochures printed in June for registration.
Contributions for the next issue of Current
Developments are due: June 12, 2009
Send your articles to:
Julie MacSwain, State Public Affairs Specialist
Your contribution and continued readership of
Current Developments is appreciated!