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Conservation Showcase

Minnesota's Conservation Showcase

Beyercrest Farm

Beyercrest Farm Makes Transition to Organic and Grazing

Richard and Sharon Beyer’s herd of Holsteins have an outstanding record of success. As Registered Holstein Breeders, the Beyer family achieved a rolling herd average 30,000 pounds of milk per cow. However, when their son Rory came back to the farm after college and began to participate in management, he recognized that in order to support two families it would be necessary to make some adjustments. After doing some research and visiting with other farmers Rory concluded that a change to organic milk production with forages from pasture providing a majority of feed might help the family meet their goals.

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Sabrina Moore, Earth Team Volunteer

Google search leads to the Earth Team Volunteer Program

Who would have ever thought a simple google search to find out more about volunteering opportunities in Minnesota would lead to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Earth Team Volunteer Program (ETV)? This is what happened to Sabrina Moore of Roseville, Minnesota.

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Kate Paul next to pumpkins

EQIP Helps Fulfill Passions and Dreams in the Boondocks for Beginning Farmer

Kate Paul, a beginning farmer, became familiar with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) while starting up her own farm on her family’s land. This led to her wanting to know more about what NRCS had to offer her as a young, beginning farmer. Marge Sella, District Conservationist (DC) for NRCS in Virginia, MN, suggested that Paul work with her on developing a conservation plan for her 120 acre family farm, of which 4 acres are used for vegetable production for her Community Supported Farm.

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Working in the Seasonal High Tunnel

Farming matters on a Few Acres in Minnesota

Uproot Farm is a small vegetable farm just one hour north of the Twin Cities. This farm makes a living on five acres along with selling Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to clients in Minneapolis and Cambridge, MN.

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“Pete Berscheit stands next to one of his cows bale grazing on pasture during 20 below zero weather.

Todd County Beginning Farmer Address Natural Resource Concerns

In 2009, Russell Kleinschmidt, Todd County District Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), helped Pete Berscheit make the decision to install a rotational grazing system. Kleinschmidt was able to explain additional benefits of rotational grazing including increased forage health and production. Rotationally grazing improves forage health and production by resting pastures and leaving adequate forage stubble height to allow quicker grass regrowth.

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Todd County Farm

Todd County Breakfast on the Farm

Twin Eagle Dairy in Clarissa, Minnesota, is owned and operated by the Pat and Jody Lunemann family. Their farm served as the host of the Todd County Breakfast on the Farm on July 20. This was an excellent outreach event that attracted over 650 people serving at least 2000 pancakes. Breakfast on the Farm is a wonderful tradition held every summer throughout the state of Minnesota. Rural and urban audiences come together on the farm to learn more about how agriculture impacts everyone!

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Grazing has been a major success in Red lake County, Minnesota.  For more information regarding grazing, please stop by your local NRCS Field Office in Minnesota.

Grazing System Success in Red Lake County, Minnesota

Since 2006, Luther Newton has been serving as the District Conservationist for the Red Lake Falls, Minnesota NRCS Field Office. In this short period of time, Newton has come to appreciate what a difference he can make with farmers in Red Lake County.

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Hennepin County Seasonal High Tunnel.

Hennepin County Seasonal High Tunnel Workshop

Crisp, cool, fall weather in rural Hennepin County did not hamper attendance at the outdoor Hennepin County High Tunnel Workshop on October 4, 2012. Close to 50 participants and speakers attended this hands-on learning opportunity at the Knapton’s Raspberries, Pumpkins and Orchard in Greenfield, MN.

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L-R Joel Holden, Minnesota DNR; Elena Teich, Minnesota DNR; Tami Wenthold, landowner;  Ivan Reinke, NRCS Conservation Technician and Anne Oldakowski, SWCD Forester.

Wadena Field Office Successful in Using EQIP to Improve Its Forestry Resource

In Wadena County, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) has been used successfully to improve its forestry resource. Wadena County applied and received over $230,000 dollars worth of projects to improve its forestry resource. These EQIP dollars are going to accomplish a great deal of forestry application over the next 5 years.

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Local Producers Volunteered to Participate in Watershed Citizen Summit-Winona County

Nearly 90 watershed individuals volunteered their time and represented a broad cross section of the Mississippi River-Winona Watershed attended the Watershed Citizen Summit on June 26, 2012 at the Tau Center in Winona. The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity for people to discuss concerns and ideas about ways to protect local water quality.

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Loren Muldowney

Earth Team Volunteer Path Led to NRCS Employment

It may have taken 19 years for Loren Muldowney to become a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employee, but in her mind it was worth the wait! Muldowney became employed by NRCS Marshall, Minnesota Area Office in 2011 as a Water Quality Specialist. A career with NRCS is something she had long desired and finally her dream came true!

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Minnesota NRCS employees recently spent one of their weekends sharing their passion for helping people help the land at Milkapalooza! The outreach event took place on Saturday, June 23 at the Cedar Summit Farms in Scott County, Minnesota. Cedar Summit produces organic milk products for the Twin Cities food market.

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Over 60 women enjoyed a beautiful sunny evening at Hinterland Vineyards, owner Karin Koenen gave tours during the field day.

Wine, Women and Wonderful Local Foods

“Wine, Women and Wonderful Local Foods” was held June 21st at the Community Center in Clara City, Minnesota. This year’s program included many activities such as a matching game about pollinators; local foods and a tour of Hinterland Vineyards. Participants had a chance to tour Hinterland vineyard by cart and learn more about grapes and making wine.

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Rice Lake Boys and Girls Club assist with tree planting

Rice Lake Boys and Girls Club Embrace Natural Resources

Helping people help the land is something that NRCS does on a daily basis. Recently, NRCS expanded its passion for helping others by partnering with the White Earth Natural Resources Department (WENRD) and the Rice Lake Boys and Girls Club.

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NRCS Soil Scientist Jeff Kroll examining soil properties in a backhoe pit in Cook County, MN.

Soil Survey in Lake and Cook Counties

Soil Surveys provide a scientific inventory of one of our most basic and important natural resources, the “soil.” In Minnesota, the Lake and Cook County Soil Survey is moving forward with completing the soil mapping of the private land in these 2 north-eastern Minnesota counties by the fall of 2012. Lake and Cook Counties are situated in the NE tip of Minnesota. The area is comprised of moderately deep coarse, stony soils except for the shoreline of Lake Superior which is predominantly red clay soils.

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Cody uses three - 690 gallon summer tire tanks

Beginning Farmer Equipped with Pasture Paddock

Beginning Farmer, Cody Schmalz farms on 600 acres near Lancaster, Minnesota (Kittson County). Schmalz was born and raised on this farm which is only 1.5 miles from the Canadian border (Manitoba). His passion for farming led him to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to solve his resource concerns.

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SWCD Staff and board members and MnDOT Staff

West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District Recognized for Living Snow Fence Efforts

In December, 2011, the West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was recognized for their contributions to protecting Minnesota state highways through the promotion and installation of living snow fences. Living snow fences are trees, shrubs and native grasses located along roads or around communities and farmsteads.

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Johnny and his wife Elizabeth (who is also a firefighter) display dueling chainsaws and a load of firewood

Local Forester Wins Award

Devotion, dedication, and determination sum up Johnny and the reasons he received the 2011 Buzz Ryan Award. To say Johnny is active is an understatement! He focuses energy on representing good stewardship and conservation in both his private and professional lives. Through these efforts, he has touched countless individuals and has made a significant impact on the land of SE MN.

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Betcher Farm

Conservation Practices Credited with “Saving” Goodhue County Farm

The longterm use of conservation practices on the Betcher farm made the step into the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), first introduced in 2005, easy. He heard about it at a local town hall informational meeting. He made a CSP application and it ranked high enough for the farm to be enrolled in two contracts; one for his agricultural land the other for the woodland.

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Restored WRP wetlands

Making a Difference with Wetland Restoration

Who would have ever guessed that Harlen Hendrickson would be passionate about wetlands, wetland restoration and wildlife? Several years ago, Hendrickson was injured in a work-related accident. He reached a point where he had to figure out what he was going to do for the rest of his life. Then, a postcard arrived at his mailbox in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The rest is what can be referred to as a dynamic change of passion for Hendrickson’s direction in life.

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Wild Rice in Floating Leaf Stage on Perch Lake

Fond du Lac Water Management Project – Carlton County, Minnesota

The Fond du Lac Water Management Project was a cooperative effort of the Fond du Lac (FDL) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Minnesota USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to conduct a hydrologic assessment of the Stoney Brook watershed. The assessment included recommendations for optimizing water levels for wild rice production on Reservation lakes.

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Ring Dike Construction

Ring Dike Offers Protection to Liedberg Farmstead

The Fond du Lac Water Management Project was a cooperative effort of the Fond du Lac (FDL) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Minnesota USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to conduct a hydrologic assessment of the Stoney Brook watershed. The assessment included recommendations for optimizing water levels for wild rice production on Reservation lakes.

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Terrace in Nobles county Minnesota.

Nobles County Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) Success Story

Across the great state of Minnesota, our farmland owners and operators face the challenge of making a living from the land, while protecting our natural resources. The key to meeting this challenge is in successfully developing a plan for managing all of the farm’s resources. To this end, NRCS has a program that can ably assist these owners and operators on solving their resource concerns, namely the Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) Program.

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