Welcome to the Benton Soil & Water Conservation District
14 2nd Avenue West
Phone: (320) 968-5300 Ext. 3
3 Positions open for Election this year
Now is your chance to help out your county by running for Benton Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. The Benton Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors will have 3 positions open for election this year. The townships open for election include: Area I (Sauk Rapids Minden & south of Gilmanton Townships), Area IV (west half of Alberta, north half of Gilmanton and Graham Townships) and Area V (Langola, Watab and Mayhew Lake Townships).
Supervisors play an important role in how the community deals with a wide variety of resource management issues, including wetlands, water quality, and soil erosion. Serving as a supervisor is a terrific opportunity for people who want a voice in how we manage our environment.
SWCDs are special purpose units of government that manage and direct conservation programs, such as the state Cost-Share Program, the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment Cost-Share Program. An Elected board of Supervisors governs each of Minnesota’s 90 SWCDs and supervisors serve four year terms.
Supervisors meet monthly to discuss the business of the SWCD, including state grant allocations to landowners, district conservation priorities, and coordination with other local units of government, state agencies, and legislative priorities. Supervisors do not receive a salary, although they do receive compensation for attending meetings and are reimbursed for expenses.
Those interested in running for Benton County SWCD Supervisor should file at the County Auditor’s office from May 17th through May 31st, 2016. Additional information about the SWCD can be found online at www.soilandwater.org or by calling the office at 320-968-5300 ext. 3.
FREE NITRATE TESTING CLINIC
Is your drinking water safe to drink? The Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will be holding a FREE 5-day long Nitrate Clinic during June 20th - 24th to test well water samples. Each day we will be in a different location. Dates, locations, and times of this event are listed below. To get your water tested, simply bring approximately 1/2 cup of water in a new plastic bag, or in a similar clean container. We will be able to give you your test results within just a few minutes. If you have any quesitons please contact Kelly Molitor at (320) 968-5300 ext. 3!
**Monday June 20th FOLEY 7 am -4:30 pm
USDA Office - Benton SWCD 14 2nd Ave W Foley, MN 56329
**Tuesday June 21st SAUK RAPIDS/ST. CLOUD 1pm - 5 pm
Mimbach Fleet Supply 3355 Quail Road NE Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
**Wednesday June 22nd RICE 1 pm - 5 pm
Pine Country Bank 750 Co Hwy 21 Rice, MN 56367
**Thursday June 23rd DUELM 1 pm - 5 pm
Jack & Jim's 11025 Duelm Rd NE Foley, MN 56329
**Friday June 24th GILMAN 1 pm - 5 pm
Gilman Coop Creamery 9920 115th St NE Gilman, MN 56333
HOPE TO YOU SEE YOU THERE!!!
Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality
Certifying that Minnesota's farms and waters can prosper together
Benton County Farm certified in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program
Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) recognizes Joe Wollak’s farm for water quality. Wollak’s farm has earned certification under the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP).
Minnesota’s Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program certifies farmers and landowners for protecting water quality through a comprehensive whole-farm assessment that puts farmers together with local professionals to determine where risks to water quality exist on their farm, and empowers them to fix those risks when they are found. About 150 Minnesota farms representing approximately 80,000 acres, have received certification to date.
The program is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Farm owners and operators who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn assured that their operation meets the state’s water quality goals and standards for a period of 10 years.
Joe Wollak’s farm, near Rice, consists of 40+ acres that are in a continuous rotation of alfalfa. Joe utilizes a unique cover crop between rotations of his alfalfa that consists of rye followed by sorghum-sudangrass. Joe raises 40+ head of Holstein Steers that he sells for beef. He also raises 250 chickens every year that he sells for meat to family and friends. “Not just in Minnesota, but across the Nation, water quality is going to be the biggest issue in the future, and we are going to have to address this issue,” Wollak said. Working with Benton SWCD staff and MAWQCP Area Certification Specialist, Grant Pearson, Joe had a comprehensive whole-farm assessment done to determine if his farm was certifiable in the program. “Getting certified in MAWQCP shows the public that farm owners and operators are doing their part to protect our natural resources,” said Pearson.
The MAWQCP is managed by the MN Dept. of Agriculture in partnership with local SWCDs and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The program is growing in popularity within the agricultural community, with strong supporters such as GNP Company, Third Street Brewhouse & MN Milk Producers Association.
Farmers and agricultural landowners interested in seeking MAWQCP certification should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District. The first step begins in filling out a program application. After the farmer has applied for MAWQCP the next step is to meet with technicians from their local SWCD and an MAWQCP Area Certification Specialist to review current baseline farm management practice information. That information is used to complete the water quality assessment process. A wide variety of management practices are reviewed including nutrient, pest, tillage, irrigation water management, tile drainage and existing conservation practices.
In order to be certified, each field within the operation is assessed using an online assessment tool followed by field verification. Certified farms must have a score equal to or greater than 8.5 out of 10 on the assessment tool and address resource concerned identified during the field verification process. Farmers who apply become eligible to receive priority status for technical and financial assistance which can be used to address conservation concerns (if identified) on their farms which helps achieve MAWQCP certification.
The Benton Soil and Water Conservation District is excited about this program and its potential to help farm owners and operators demonstrate their commitment to clean water and to accelerate the adoption of conservation practices where needed. If you are interested in the program, please contact Casey Gwost, Benton SWCD at 320-968-5300 ext. 3 or feel free to visit our office at 14 2nd Avenue West Foley, MN 56329. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Ag Weather Network
Two Campbell Scientific Weather Stations were installed in the fall of 2014. These Weather Stations were built at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. This project is funded through Benton SWCD/NRCS & Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Campbell Scientific has implemented their weather stations to obtain meteorological data for teaching and research. The weather station sensors measure air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, precipitation, and barometric pressure.
The information gathered from the weather stations will be used for Irrigation Scheduler Program to calculate evapotranspiration (ET). ET is the process of transferring moisture from the earth to the atmosphere by evaporation of water and transpiration from plants. Click on the link below to access the ag weather network.