The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD), with support from The Farmer magazine, offers the MASWCD Outstanding Conservationist Award to recognize individuals, conservation organizations, and others for outstanding accomplishments with implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.
Recognition will be given for accomplishments between July 1 of last year and June 30 of this year. Local winners then go into nominations for Area Conservationist, if selected for Area Conservationist they then move onto nominations for State Conservationist of the Year.
The Fillmore SWCD’s 2023
Conservationist of the Year is Paul and Sue Graff and family.
Fillmore SWCD would like to recognize and congratulate Paul and Sue Graff and family (Austin, Alison, and Morgan) of Spring Valley, MN.
Their home farm has been in the family since 1953. The Graff’s farm is around 500 acres consisting of corn, soybeans, small grains, and alfalfa.
The Graffs have used EQIP to install cover crops for forage and assistance in their rotational grazing of their cow/calf operation. Prior to converting pastures into rotational grazing, the land had been enrolled in CRP for nearly 30 years.
They began converting other acres to no-till in 2019 and continue to do so to improve the soil erosion and water retaining capacity of the soils.
The Graffs also worked with local DNR to establish a windbreak on the farmstead. Congratulations to Paul Graff Family Farms!
Past Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists
Fillmore SWCD would like to recognize and congratulate Janet and Mike Erdman of Preston, MN,
as our 2022 Outstanding Conservationists.
They own 450 acres of land that has been in their family since 1932. The Erdman’s have 225 acres of woodland and 150 acres of CRP including filter strips. Work is continually being done to control weeds, trees and invasives, with Wild Parsnip and Canadian Thistle being the biggest challenge.
Janet is a strong advocate for native home landscapes and strives to use plants and shrubs that are native or pollinator friendly along with incorporating low mow grass into their landscape. In their woodlands the Erdman’s tackle more invasives, have built forest roads and recreational trails along with woodland thinning for timber and habitat improvement.
The Erdman’s have a strong appreciation for our environment and advocate to be good stewards of the land. Congratulations to Janet and Mike!
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is proud to announce that Lynn and Roxie Tienter of Preston, have been chosen as the 2021 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists.
Their participation in federal, state and local conservation programs, as well as their unassisted conservation efforts make them a land steward standout in our county.
They oversee the management of 300 beautiful rolling acres of prairie, pasture, hay, and forest. By implementing practices that keep their land in continuous cover, they are improving soil health and protecting local water resources for generations to come. Eager for this transition is toy tractor towing grandson Weston who already has big ideas for the day when he might inherit the farm. Field borders, waterways, sinkhole buffers, and grade stabilizations are scattered about their 55 acres of rotationally grazed pasture, 30 acres of rotated alfalfa, oats and corn, 115 acres of CRP/CREP, and remaining acres of mature forest. Providing a beautiful backdrop to the Tienter family farming operation, roughly half of these tillable acres abut beautiful vistas of Forestville State Park.
Thank you, Lynn and Roxie, for your mindful management of your land. You are true role models of conservation.
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is proud to announce that Gary and Josh Eisenman, of Chatfield, have been chosen as the 2020 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists.
The Eisenman’s farm 600 acres of corn, soybeans, oats, hay and cover crops on both owned and rented land in Jordan Township. Gary started strip tilling back in 2000 on his corn and soybean ground and converted to 100% no-till in 2019. The Eisenman’s have done cover crops through NRCS (EQIP) and SWCD programs and continue to use them on their corn silage and soybean acres. They sometimes harvest their cover crop (Winter Cereal Rye) in the spring for forage if needed and weather permits for their beef cows.
The Eisenman’s have 40 cow/calf pairs that are rotational grazed on a three week cycle through the summer. Calves are weaned in the fall and put in the feedlot where they are backgrounded and marketed at a later time. Cows are wintered on corn stalks and spend no time in a feedlot.
Their 25 acres of woodland which they do tree trimming, tree harvest and planting according to a private forester’s forest plan. Also Gary is starting to do beehives and is looking into planting some pollinator plants to attract bees. Also by having cover crops that provide good wildlife habitat and protection in the winter and spring months.
Gary is a former Jordan Township Supervisor, VFW Life member Honor Guard, Memorial Rifle Squad State Cemetery, Township Zoning board. Josh is currently a Jordan Township Supervisor. Congratulations Gary and Josh!
The 2019 Outstanding Conservationists selected by the Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was Johnson Rolling Acres of Peterson. They were honored at a luncheon at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s (MASWCD) annual convention held on December 10 in Bloomington where Outstanding Conservationists from across Minnesota were recognized.
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 magazine.
Johnson Rolling Acres is a 3rd generation family farming operation which includes a large dairy operation milking around 1,200 cows with additional heifers and calves raised at other facilities and raise 4,000 head of swine finishers. The operation farms about 3,00 acres that is a rotation of corn for silage and grain and grass/alfalfa. The Johnson’s drag line direct inject all manure from the dairy and hog facilities and drill in cover crops each year on the corn silage ground.
Since 2009 Johnson Rolling Acres has been an edge of field cooperator for the Root River Field to Stream Partnership (RRFSP) water quality project and served on the advisory team. They have hosted numerous RRFSP educational field days over the past 10 years at their edge of field runoff monitoring station and dairy facility. One example of a recent field day was hosting a low disturbance manure injection demonstration on their farm in the fall of 2018.
As a result of the field walkover process in the Bridge Creek Watershed, 17,850 feet of new and rehabilitated grassed waterways were installed on land they operate withing just 2 years along with installation of contour buffer strip. They continue to maintain a 6 acre CRP roadside windbreak along State Highway 43.
If keeping busy with the daily farm items members of the Johnson Rolling Acres are also involved with local groups such as Township, Planning Commission, Diary Association and Ag Partners Coop to mention a few. The Fillmore SWCD congratulates Johnson Rolling Acres on their conservation efforts.
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is proud to announce that Gerald and Dianne Peter, of Mabel, have been chosen as the 2018 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists.
The Peter’s will compete with outstanding conservationists from across the State of Minnesota for the title of Minnesota Outstanding Conservationist at the annual convention of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Districts (MASWCD) to be held in Bloomington December 9-11, 2018.
The Peters farm 370 acres of corn, soybeans, oats and hay on both owned and rented land in Preble Township. All their land is in contour strips and no-tilled, except where the cows are wintered. They started using cover crops with EQIP and have continued their use on all acres following corn and soybeans. They maintain a 750 foot farmstead shelterbelt, adding trees as needed. A hedge has also been planted along one field to reduce erosion.
The Peters have 85 Black and Red Angus cow/calf pairs. All their cattle are grass fed and the calves are sold after weaning in November. Cows are wintered on corn stalks and spend no time in a feedlot. Their 125 acre pasture is rotationally grazed and divided into twelve paddocks which the cows are moved through weekly.
Their 120 acres of woodland are fenced to exclude cattle, which enhances the wildlife habitat. They also have a seven acre field that is maintained specifically for wildlife habitat, which they have inter-seeded with species beneficial to wildlife. This area is used by both family and guests that include young hunters and participants in the Wounded Warrior hunting program.
Gerald is a former Fillmore SWCD supervisor, Preble Township Board member and Mabel Cooperative Telephone Board member. He currently is a member of the Fillmore County Cattlemen, and the Mabel Legion, having served six years in the Army Reserves, and is a member of the Land Stewardship Project. The Peters have been participants in the SE MN Volunteer Nitrate Monitoring Program since it began in 2008.
Gerald and Dianne are carrying on the conservation tradition on the farm where Gerald grew up and maintain many of the practices that were installed by his parents.
Congratulations Gerald and Dianne!
Kevin and Kris Borgen, of Chatfield, have been selected as the 2017 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists.
The Borgen Brothers farm 558 acres consisting of corn, soybeans and pasture with well-maintained grassed waterways, contour strips and several farm ponds. They have no-tilled since 1998 on all acres that don’t receive manure in the spring. They plant cover crops on about 30 acres following corn silage. The University of Minnesota and Minnesota Department of Agriculture have conducted on-farm nitrogen studies with them to improve their operation while sharing information with others.
The Borgen’s have an 80 cow dairy herd and also have 40 beef cows. In 2006, they completed a feedlot fix. A wall was installed in a manure retaining area with a picket fence designed to capture solids while allowing liquids to pass through an outlet to a vegetated filter strip. They also have a tank for milk house waste that is pumped daily and land applied. A manure management plan is updated yearly with the SWCD, even though not required, because of the benefits they derive from it.
They have a half-acre pollinator plot enrolled in CSP which will remain after the contract ends along with eight acres in CRP enrolled on highly erodible land. The DNR have a fishing easement and have completed a habitat improvement project on Trout Run Creek which runs through their property.
The Borgen and Lien (Kevin’s wife’s family) families are Adopt a Highway volunteers for a mile-long stretch of Highway 30.
Jeff and Norman Eickhoff Named 2016 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists.
Jeff and Norman own approximately 750 acres of which 595 acres is cropland that is all minimum-till using a disk chisel on corn stalks in the fall. All fields are worked just once in the spring using a soil finisher before planting. Liquid manure is incorporated after beans are harvested in the fall. Soil tests are taken every four years. Their nitrogen is knife-injected in the spring as needed. P and K are applied with the corn planter on acres that did not receive manure.
The Eickhoff’s wean-to-finish 1,850 hogs every six months as a contract finisher. They keep their nutrient management plan updated with the Nutrient Management Specialist at the SWCD. The manure is tested each time the pits are pumped. Most of the manure is applied in the fall, while some is applied in the spring according to the needs determined by the manure tests and nutrient management plan. They also raise 20 goats that are used for meat, milking, sold as breeding stock or for 4-H projects.
Installed to treat runoff from the open lot by their barn was a filter strip and picket fence to create a zero discharge feedlot and divert the runoff away from a sinkhole. This was the first of its kind in Fillmore County installed with cost share. A pond is located at the end of the filter strip to catch the runoff.
Jeff and Norman have installed many terraces and waterways both with cost share and on their own. If a waterway needs repair, they shape it and plant their crop perpendicular to it. After the crop is up and sprayed, they seed the waterway and clip it a couple of times which destroys the crop but helps to prevent washing and gives the grasses a chance to get established.
Jeff is very active with community organizations. He is the current president of the Fillmore County Farm Bureau, is a member of the Parent Teacher League at St. John’s School in Wykoff, and also serves on the Spring Valley Area Community Foundation. He has been a 4-H leader and on the Beef Producers Board.
The farms Jeff and Norman own have been in the family for over 140 years. Jeff and Norman are carrying on the tradition of conservation, community involvement and leadership. Jeff is maintaining the practices that Norman and others before him have installed while adopting new practices that will sustain the farm for future generations.
Congratulations Jeff and Norman for setting an example for others that encourages better land stewardship.
The Goldsmith Brothers, Ross and Steven, of Chatfield, have been named the 2015 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists. The Goldsmith Brothers and their families will be honored at a luncheon at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ (MASWCD) Annual Convention which will be held December 7th and 8th at the Double Tree by Hilton, Bloomington-Minneapolis South.
Ross and Steven own about 800 acres of cropland and rent another 300 acres of which about 660 acres is corn, 140 acres is beans and 300 acres is hay. They use minimum tillage on their crop acres making two passes with a cultivator in the spring to work only the top 3″-4″ of soil and no fall tillage. They grid sample one-third of their acres each year so that all their acres are grid sampled in three years. They have utilized cover crops on their corn silage acres for approximately ten years and a portion of those acres are enrolled in a five year EQIP soil health practice using winter rye and winter wheat. Erosion has been almost totally eliminated plus wee control is excellent and organic matter has increase from their use of cover crops and manure.
They also own 800 acres of pasture and rent an additional 300 acres. Their pastures are fertilized for forage production and lime is applied as needed.
The Goldsmiths have 370-400 beef cows, have 100 ewes, farrow 100 sows and have two finishing barns for the pigs. They built one of the first mono slope buildings in the area with technical and financial assistance from the SWCD. Their daily management has increased the efficiency of the building. They estimate that it has helped them reduce feed costs, reduced the number of days to market, and decreased their labor significantly.
The Goldsmith families are active with the Pork Producers, Cattlemen’s’ Association and Farm Bureau. Both Ross and Steve were active leaders with the County 4-H groups. Now their kids are leaders and their grandkids are 4-H members. Ross and Steve are both Vietnam vets and are dedicated Red Cross blood donors. Visitors are welcomed to their farm to talk about their mono slope building. They have hosted U of M vet students to help them gain field experience and had local school children visit to see their baby animals.
Goldsmith Farms has been in operation for 153 years and the next generation is ready to keep the conservation tradition going. The Fillmore SWCD congratulates the Goldsmith Brothers for leading by.
Oct. 20, 2015 – We have just learned that the Goldsmith Brothers have been named Area 7 winners and will now compete with the other area winners for the title of Minnesota Outstanding Conservationists. Congratulations Ross, Steven and families!
Dec. 9, 2015 – We are proud to announce that the Goldsmith Brothers, Ross and Steven, of Chatfield, have been named Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationists for 2015. The award was presented to them on Tuesday, December 8th at the MASWCD Annual Convention in Minneapolis.
John and Deb Bruihler of Rushford have been named the 2014 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists. They were also named Area 7 winners and were honored at a luncheon on December 9th the MASWCD Annual Convention held at the Doubletree by Hilton Bloomington Minneapolis South.
The Bruihlers farm about 1500 acres in Minnesota and Iowa with most acres in a corn/soybean rotation with some hay and small grains. Since the 1980s, when John started farming, he has no-tilled his crops. In the beginning, yields weren’t great, but John saw the advantages of no-till and has farmed that way ever since. Some of their fields have not been tilled for more than 20 years.
Even with no-till, they feel they have experienced more erosion than what is acceptable. Waterways and buffer strips have helped, but they continue to seek ways to slow down soil loss. For the last five years, they have been using cover crops trying various mixes and seeding dates with mixed results.
GPS technology is used by the Bruihlers for pesticide applications to prevent overlap and overapplication. They regularly scout their fields for insects and diseases and have added row shut-offs on their planter to help them increase the number of waterways and grass strips.
The Bruihlers have land that includes woods and timber. John remembers, as a boy, planting many acres of trees on his father’s farm which have now grown into a forest and are a haven for wildlife. John and Deb continue the tradition by planting 500 or more trees at a time. They have worked with state foresters to draft timberstand management plans on three of their farms.
John and Deb have taken an active interest in no-till and have attended ten national and one canadian conference where John has participated as a panel member and presenter several times. Locally, John has led the effort to encourage more cover crops as the Chair of the Rush-Pine Watershed Farmer Led Council.
The Bruihlers have spent time teaching beekeeping and agriculture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. John has also volunteered many times to drive to Mexico with donations for people in need. Deb volunteers at the Grace Place Ministries and Thrift Store.
The Bruihlers exemplify the innovation and experience needed in the farming community to move forward and keep our land productive and our water clean. The Fillmore SWCD congratulates John and Deb Bruihler on being selected our 2014 Conservationists of the Year.
Conservation has long been an important part of Arden and Judy Willford’s farming operation beginning in 1961 when Arden’s dad developed his conservation plan with the Soil Conservation Service and SWCD. Over the years, they have maintained and installed over 21,000 feet of terraces, 15,000 feet of grassed waterways, and 5,000 feet of contour buffer strips and also maintain three miles of stream buffers.
The Willfords have no-tilled corn and soybeans for over 10 years on 220 acres they own and 110 rented acres near Harmony. Another 23 acres are in pasture and CRP. The Willfords have their soil grid sampled and use variable rate technology to apply their fertilizer in a split application. Basal stalk nitrate tests are used in the fall to evaluate their nitrogen fertilizer program. They utilize cover crops on their soybean acres into which corn is no-tilled in the spring.
Manure from the Willford’s hog finishing building and half the manure from their son’s building is injected into their crop ground according to their nutrient management plan which follows University of Minnesota recommendations.
Pheasants are raised in cooperation with the Pheasants Forever Chapter and released on their CRP acres. A wet area on their rented acres is maintained in permanent grass along the stream bank, is home to many bird species, and is mowed every year after nesting season to control the weeds.
Both Arden and Judy have been long time Ambulance Service volunteers and are active in their church and community.
As local winners, Arden and Judy competed for the title of State Outstanding Conservationists at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) annual convention held December 1-3, 2013 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington-Minneapolis South. The awards program recognizes farm families, individuals, conservation organizations, and other groups for their accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.
The Fillmore SWCD congratulates Arden and July Willford. They are continuing the long tradition of conservation and have passed along their stewardship ethic to their family to ensure that the practices and management on their land are carried into future generations.
Duschee Hills Dairy of Lanesboro, owned and operated by Pat and Chris Troendle and Ben and Darla Taylor, has been chosen as the 2012 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists. As local winners, the Troendles and Taylors will compete for the title of State Outstanding Conservationist. They will be recognized at a luncheon held during the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) annual convention scheduled for December 2nd – 4th at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington – Minneapolis South. The awards program recognizes farm families, individuals, conservation organizations, and other groups for their accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.
Duschee Hills Dairy, a fourth generation farm, milks 200 cows and has 200 head of young stock. Seven groups of heifers and dry cows are rotated between 18 paddocks on 70-80 acres of land based on stubble height, weather conditions and the condition of the cattle.
They farm 530 acres in 92 fields, most of which are less than six acres. Three hundred acres has a greater than 6% slope and nearly 80 acres are in the flood plan. Another 50 acres of rented ground is organic utilizing manure as a fertilizer source. Minimum tillage is used on all acres. Soil tests and manure tests are taken regularly, using those results to apply only needed nutrients to their crop ground. Fifty foot buffers are maintained along Duschee Creek and an extensive waterway system connects about 300 acres of hay strips.
A Woodland Stewardship Plan has been approved by the DNR on over 100 acres of woods which includes practices for improving walnut growth and controlling buckthorn. They also have three ponds which help to stabilize gullies. Several water breaks and dams installed by the CCC are still maintained.
The families are active in their community, with 4-H and FFA, and in their church. The farm hosts the second grade class from Lanesboro every year for their spring field trip and also hosts the Lanesboro Ag class to help them learn about careers in agriculture. They have hosted Dairy Night on the Farm as well as other tours that allow them to tell the story and the value of agriculture.
The Fillmore SWCD is proud to honor Duschee Hills Dairy. They exemplify good stewardship of the land and the family ethic that benefits the entire community.
Larry and Irene Mathison and Loren and Carrie Mathison of Preston were chosen as the 2011 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists of the Year. In addition, the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) named the Mathison families as one of eight Area finalists in the 2011 Outstanding Conservationists Award program.
The Mathison’s own and rent a total 880 acres of crop ground in mainly a corn-soybean-hay-oats rotation that is adapted to match their landscape. They maintain 170 acres of hay, some of which is in strips that were laid out twenty-five years ago. The Mathisons have about 90 cows that are rotationally grazed in 11 paddocks on three farms in addition to 70 head of cattle that are in lots for part of the year. They have installed feedlot runoff practices which include a cement wall, picket fence, roof gutters, a berm, freshwater diversion and filter strips.
In August of 2005, the Mathisons hosted a manure application and equipment field day in cooperation with the University of Minnesota Extension Service and the Fillmore SWCD.
Buffers are maintained along 4,378 feet of Canfield Creek that flows through the Mathison property. They have installed 41,990 feet of grassed waterways or 27.4 acres on both land they own and rent. Eighteen acres of CRP on their steepest cropland has been maintained for 17 years.
The Fillmore SWCD is proud to recognize the ongoing efforts of the Mathison
families to be good stewards of the land.
Bill and Steve Bailey of Chatfield have been chosen as the 2010 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationists of the Year. The Bailey’s operate 1,350 acres of crop ground in a corn-bean-hay rotation and pasture 250 head of beef cows and calves, finishing out 120 head and selling the rest as feeders.
Almost all their cropland acres are either no tilled or zone tilled, except the acres where the cows are over-wintered. Working with their co-op and consultant, they apply manure based on nutrient needs and apply variable rate fertilizer as recommended. The Bailey’s have 83.6 acres in CRP some of which is on HEL land that borders woodlands, some buffers sinkholes and some that is in food plots. Over the years they have installed 5,485 feet of grassed waterways and several dry ponds to help control erosion and have a DNR approved Forest Stewardship Plan on 308 acres.
Bill and his wife, Mary, maintain and monitor sixty bluebird boxes on their property and are active in the Bluebird Recovery Program of Minnesota. Their home site has been a dedicated wildlife sanctuary for 18 years and managed for preservation and increased biodiversity, featuring different types of wetlands and over four miles of mowed trails.
The Bailey families are also active in their community, church, school and 4-H.
As outstanding conservationists, the Bailey’s will be eligible to compete for Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationist Award, which will be announced at the 2010 Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting set for December 5th-7th in St. Paul.
The Fillmore SWCD is proud to recognize Bill and Steve Bailey for their many years of practicing sound stewardship on their land.
Dan and Sherry Hanson of Peterson have been chosen as the 2009 Fillmore County Conservationists of the Year. In addition, Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) has named them as one of eight Area finalists in the 2009 Outstanding Conservationists Program. On December 8th, the Hanson’s were selected as the Minnesota Outstanding Conservationists at MASWCD’s 73rd annual convention in Duluth.
Dan started farming in the late 1970s with his father. The Hanson’s raise corn, soybeans, and hay on 613 acres and have a 150 head cow-calf operation. They still have 183 acres of contour strips, including 80 acres of hay, that were laid out when Dan’s grandfather developed a conservation plan with the Soil Conservation Service in 1944. Over the years, 6,875 feed of terraces and 10 acres of grassed waterways have been installed. Nutrient and pest management, no-till, and planting thousands of trees on CRP for wildlife food and habitat also enhance conservation on their farm. The Hanson’s exemplify the land stewardship ethic that SWCD’s promote.
The Fillmore SWCD is very proud of Dan and Sherry Hanson and wish to congratulate them on their being named
2009 Minnesota Outstanding Conservationists!
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has announced the selection of Arlo and Mary Helen Schmitt of Mabel as the District’s 2008 Outstanding Conservationist of the Year.
The Schmitt’s have maintained and improved their conservation practices for over 30 years, often without cost-share assistance. They own 356 acres and rent another 440 acres on which they raise corn, soybeans, and hay and have 60 acres enrolled in CRP. They raise 550 Holstein steers per year and utilize the manure efficiently to reduce input costs. The Schmitt’s have five farm ponds, 240 buffer strips, three miles of terraces, and 100 foot wide waterways which qualified them for Tier III CSP. Pest scouting, utilizing cover crops, leaving corn residue, conservation tillage practices, providing wildlife habitat with CRP, delayed haying, and raising fruit tree without any chemicals are why the Schmitt’s where chosen as the Outstanding Conservationists for 2008. Their operation is a model for farming the landscape of southeastern Minnesota.
As outstanding Conservationists, the Schmitt’s will be eligible to complete for Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationist Award, which will be announced at the 2008 Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting set for December 7-9, 2008 in St. Paul.
Congratulations to Arlo and Mary Helen on their conservation achievements!
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has announced the selection of Heusinkveld Farm of Spring Valley as the District’s Outstanding Conservationists of the Year.
Heusinkveld Farm is a three-generation family dairy operation owned and operated by Cleon Heusinkveld and his sons, Steve and Jeff and Jeff’s son, Nate. The Heusinkvelds milk 270 cows and operate about 600 acres, ninety percent of which is in a four year 50/50 hay and corn rotation. Their practices include cover crops on their corn silage acres, well maintained grass waterways, terraces, a farm pond, conservation tillage, and implementation of a nutrient management plan reducing their commercial fertilizer input significantly. They are currently cooperators in a grazing study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to measure runoff from pastures and manured crop fields. The Heusinkvelds operation has prevailed through tough economic times for dairy farms making many improvements while keeping conservation on the land.
As outstanding conservationists, the Heusinkveld’s will be eligible to compete for Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationist Award, which will be announced at the 2007 Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Districts annual meeting set for December 2-4 in Rochester.
The Fillmore SWCD wishes to congratulate the Heusinkveld Family – Cleon, Steve, Jeff, and Nate – on their conservation achievements!
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has announced the selection of Gary and Deborah Anderson of Chatfield as the district’s Outstanding Conservationist of the Year.
The Anderson’s operate a 1,300 acre farm where they raise no-till corn, soybeans, oats, wheat and hay. They have restored 20 acres of native prairie and oak savannah and were the first participants in the state to enroll a wetland in the Wetland Preservation Area program of the Wetland Conservation Act. They are especially active with various prairie restoration groups and in their native plant nursery where Deb propagates some of her harder to find native plants to collect the seed and plant in prairie restorations.
As outstanding conservationists, the Anderson’s will be eligible to compete for Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationist Award, which will be announced at the 2006 Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting set for December 3-5, 2006 in Bloomington.
Congratulations to Gary and Deb on their conservation achievements!
Each year the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District selects an outstanding conservationist that has made significant accomplishments in the management and conservation of natural resources.
We are pleased to announce that the Fillmore SWCD Board of Supervisors has selected the Serfling Family – Dave, Diane, Hannah and Ethan as our 2005 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationist Award Winner. The Serflings’ have also been selected as the Southeast Minnesota Area Winner and chosen as one of the eight state finalists for the State Outstanding Conservationist Award.
The Serfling’s accomplishments include a shelterbelt, integrated nutrient and pest management, sinkhole protection, reduced tillage, wildlife enhancement through pond establishment and cover improvement, secondary containment for fuels and pesticides and rotational grazing coupled with forage management. Among the more unusual accomplishments are the treatment of septic tank effluent by an innovative constructed wetland, a furnace that utilizes corn cobs or wood, and a beautiful butterfly and humming bird garden.
As our Outstanding Conservationists, the Serfling’s were invited to attend the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District convention in Bloomington this past December where they competed for Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationist Award.
The Fillmore SWCD wishes to congratulate the Serfling Family – Dave, Diane, Hannah and Ethan – on their conservation achievements!
Each year the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District selects an outstanding conservationist that has made significant accomplishments in the management and conservation of natural resources.
We are pleased to announce that the Fillmore SWCD Board of Supervisors has selected Phil and Ruth Abrahamson’s Sunnyslope Farm as our 2004 Fillmore County Outstanding Conservationist Award Winner. The Abrahamson’s have also been selected as the Southeast Minnesota Area Winner and chosen one of the seven state finalists for the State Outstanding Conservationist Award.
This family operation consists of a 503 animal unit registered Angus cattle farm. The farm was founded in 1863 and the registered Angus herd was founded in 1898. The Abrahamson’s have long been leaders in both genetic herd improvement and conservation. Conservation and pollution prevention measures used by the Abrahamson’s include extensive feedlot improvements and nutrient management planning to reduce nutrient runoff and lessen the need for commercial fertilizer.
The Abrahamson’s maintain a number of contour grass strips to reduce erosion. The Abrahamson’s follow a seven year rotation, including a scheduled plan to sample soils to monitor soil nutrient levels.
As our Outstanding Conservationists, the Abrahamson’s will be invited to attend the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District convention in Duluth this December where they will compete for Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationist Award.
Congratulations to Phil and Ruth on their conservation achievements!
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has announced the selection of David and Alice Terbeest of Canton as the district’s Outstanding Conservationists of the Year.
David and Alice will be eligible to compete for Minnesota’s Outstanding Conservationist Award, which will be announced at the 2003 Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting set for November 30-December 2 in Bloomington.
According to Doug Keene, David and Alice Terbeest were recognized for a variety of reasons.
David and Alice are conscientious conservationists applying minimum tillage in a corn/hay rotation. They have many established contour strips and grassed waterways. In addition they have established and maintained a farmstead windbreak and a wildlife pond.
“We’re really proud of David and Alice Terbeest and what they have done for conservation in Fillmore County, said Keene. “David and Alice provide a wonderful example for conservationists by the farming habits they demonstrate.”
Jerry and Ardis Rindels of rural Preston received Fillmore County’s 2002 Outstanding Conservation Award at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s Annual Convention in St. Paul in December. The award is given to someone who has shown leadership in conserving our soil and water resources. The Farmer Magazine and the MASWCD sponsor the award.
Jerry and Ardis farm 160 acres in York Township located 12 miles southwest of Preston. Jerry grew up on the family farm where he assisted his parents with the dairy and farming operation. They used a corn-hay rotation on the tillable ground and kept the rough ground in pasture. Jerry has kept and maintained the contour strips and grassed waterway that his father established some 50 years ago. “The strips have been on this farm as long as I can remember”, says Jerry. “It’s the only way I know how to farm the steep slopes. The contour strips and grassed waterways are a must.”
Jerry and Ardis have recently retired from the milking but still continue to use a corn-hay rotation for their beef cow operation.
The staff of the Fillmore SWCD wishes to congratulate Jerry and Ardis on this distinguished award. Their continued efforts of promoting conservation have and will continue to save our valuable, but limited resources.
The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District is proud to announce that Dean, Glen and Doris Thomas of Fountain have been named as our 2000 Outstanding Conservationists. This annual award is presented to a Fillmore County farmer in recognition for outstanding accomplishments in the protection of soil, water and other natural resources.
The Thomas’ raise beef cows using a rotational grazing system in Pilot Mound Township. They have converted a majority of their tillable acres to permanent pasture and are now managing the grazing system for optional forage production. The Thomas’ were assisted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The EQIP program provided cost-sharing for fencing and a watering system and NRCS designed the grazing system.
The Thomas’ were recognized for their accomplishments, along with 90 other outstanding conservationists, at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. This award is co-sponsored by the Farmer Magazine.
The Fillmore SWCD wants to congratulate the Thomas’ on their efforts.
Each year the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District selects an outstanding conservationist that has made significant accomplishment in the management and conservation of our natural resources. We are pleased to announce that the Fillmore SWCD Board of Supervisors has selected Maynard and Sandi Thompson as our 1999 Outstanding Conservationists.
Maynard and Sandi farm 300 acres of corn, soybeans and hay in northeastern Fillmore County near Peterson. Since the 1950’s, they have implemented soil and water conservation farming techniques throughout their farm including grassed waterways, farmstead shelterbelts, grade stabilizing structures, no-till, conservation tillage, contour strip cropping and pest management. They also raise beef cows.
We applaud the conservation efforts that the Thompson’s have shown over the years. Their efforts have led to the conservation of soil resources and the protection of water quality within the Root River Watershed. We appreciate their efforts in helping us to achieve our goal of managing, conserving and protecting the County’s soil and water resources.
The Thompsons contributions to the local community have also been many. Maynard taught in the local school district and served as principle until his recent retirement. They have promoted the development of the town of Peterson by promoting small businesses.
As our outstanding Conservationists, the Thompsons will be attending the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts convention in Duluth in December.
Congratulations to the Thompsons on this honor!
Valley Angus Farm near Spring Valley utilizes grass farming as a means to practice conservation.
Dan and Cara Miller, along with children Hannah and Isaac, live and farm on 120 acres in Spring Valley Township.
The Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District is honoring the Miller’s as their 1998 Outstanding Conservationists.
They are being recognized at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts on December 8th at the Radisson South in Bloomington.
Their 120 acre farm has been converted into an intensive rotational grazing and haying system from land that was formerly in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The Millers own a 20 head registered Angus herd and custom graze Holstein dairy heifers.
Dan and Cara are also currently cooperating with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on a 3-year project to evaluate different grass-legume combinations and methods of establishment such as no-till, conventional seeding and frost seeding.
Dan grew up on a farm and while continuing a conservation ethic on the farm he and Cara purchased in 1993, he also serves as the farm business management instructor in Spring Valley. The Millers continue to bring innovation to their farm to try and make the farming business profitable while protecting our sensitive natural resources in Fillmore County.
- 1994 – Howard Borgen
- 1980 – Paul Lunde
- 1979 – Don Solberg
- 1978 – John Welch
- 1977 – Porter Broadwater
- 1976 – George and Edward Taylor
- 1985 and 1984 – None