Each year, Benton SWCD and NRCS present an award for the Benton County Outstanding Conservation Cooperators (OCC). This award is important because it recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota's natural resource


2018 Benton Outstanding Cooperators - Melvin & Marianne Hauck

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Melvin & Marianne Hauck 1.jpg

The Hauck family is an example of what it takes to be a farm family and conservationists at the same time.  The practices they have implemented on their farm preserve the cropland and protects water and soil quality and maintain or increase productivity.  The Hauck’s raise corn and soybeans on 195 owned and rented acres in Benton County.  Some of the practices that the Hauck’s have installed over the years include; sealing an abandoned well, buckthorn removal, CRP Riparian Buffer, no-tilling since 1993, cover crops and nutrient & pest management.  The Hauck’s are active in their community and do an outstanding job of being good stewards of the land & water, and are eager to provide a positive image of farming and are willing to share their experiences with others.

  • CRP riparian buffer established in 1998– 6.7 acres 2,400 tree planted

                                      Re-enrolled in for 2012-2027

  • Forest Stewardship plan completed on 49.7 ac in 1999

  • Invasive Species Removal on 16.9 acres for buckthorn in 2007

  • Cover crops in 2015, 2017 and 2018

  • No-tilling since 1993 – planting corn into soybean residue, 2018 first time 100% no-till

  • Former pasture was enrolled in the CRP listed in Forestry Improvement and Establishment

  • Has been no-tilling since 1993 - planting corn into soybean residue, 2018 first time 100% no-till

  • Experimenting with cover crops to control weeds (water hemp) & erosion

                                    2015 Cover Crops – 50.7 acres

                                    2017 Cover Crops – 20 acres

                                    2018 Cover Crops – will be seeding 33 acres in July

  • Conservation Crop rotation on 148.7 acres through CSP – 2010 – 2015

  • Tissue test for nitrogen management on 148.7 acres through CSP – 2010 – 2014

  • Grid samples and use variable rate application for P & K

  • Split applications of N

  • Installed a 500’ waterway on his own

  • High Level Integrated Pest Management through CSP – 2010 - 2014

  • Has switched to treated seed for aphids to minimize the need for spray

  • 1988 – 22 acres of cool season grasses through CRP

  • Upland Wildlife Habitat Management through CSP on 35.2 acres

  • Sealed an abandoned well in 1995

  • Resource Management Plan completed 2015

  • Has been a tour stop for the Benton SWCD Tour of Practices

  • Speaker in a farmer panel for cover crops in 2018

  • MN Board of Water and Soil Resources feature article on the 2017 cover crops

  • Planted white cedar along MN Highway 25 after a road construction project to hide the scars of the work.


2018 MASWCD Annual Convention in Bloomington, MN

2018 MASWCD convention OCC Mel and Marianne Hauck .jpg

On December 11th, the Haucks were presented the Benton County Outstanding Conservation Cooperators award at the 2018 Minnesota Association Soil and Water Conservation District convention held in Bloomington. Congratulations!!!


Past OCC Winners

2018 -  Melvin and Marianne Hauck (St. George Township)

2017 - Leonard and Jackie Popp (Graham Township)       

2016 - Rick and Marlene Schlichting (Watab and Langola Township) - State Winners too!!   

2015 -  Ed, Kathy, and Eddy Popp (Langola Township)   

2014 - Mark & Pam Skroch (Langola Township)     

2013 - Jon Hansmeier (Glendorado Township)

2012 - Roy & Cindy Schneider & Family (Glendorado Township)

2011 - Guy Spence and Maureen Graber (Watab Township)

2010 - Lonnie Greener (Maywood Township)

2009 - Brian & Glen Kaschmitter (Mayhew Lake Township)

2002 - Chuck & Debbie Kaproth (St. George Township)

2001 - Rick & Donna Lovitz (Minden Township)

2000 - Larry & Esther Hackett (Graham Township)

1999 - John & Betty Mastey (Alberta Township)
1998 - Clarence & Jeanice Adelman (St. George Township)
1997 - Doug & Lori Lezer (Gilmanton Township)
1996 - Mike, Lynda & Muriel Gans (Graham Township)
1995 - Tim & Carol Wruck & Sons (Alberta Township)
1994 - Joe & Theresa Jordan (Glendorado Township)
1993 - Kevin & Lora Lee Adelman (St. George Township)
1992 - Alvin & Elaine Kloss (E. Langola Township)
1991 - Joe & Claudette Czeck, Mark & Shelly Czeck (Gilmanton Township)
1990 - Rice Sportsmen's Club
*Before 1990, the award was known as the Benton County Star Conservation Farmers
1989 - John & Dawn Linkert (Mayhew Lake Township)
1988 - John & Phyliss Kaproth (St. George Township)
1987 - Sylvester & Elaine Krueger (Mayhew Lake Township)
1986 - Raymond & Clarence Bromenschenkel (Minden Township)
1985 - Russel & Sandy Studenski (Mayhew Lake Township)
1984 - Robert & Mary Carlson (Maywood Township)
1983 - Raymond & Evelyn Beehler (Gilmanton Township)
1982 - Robert & Janet Abfalter (St. George Township)
1981 - Pete Winkelman & Sons (Glendorado Township)
1980 - Larry & Loris VanHooser (Alberta Township)
1979 - Bruce Olsen (Graham Township)
1978 - Ken Neeser (Minden Township)
1977 - Al Gapinski (Gilmanton Township)
1976 - Ernie Haehnel (Sauk Rapids & Watab Townships)
1975 - Tom Blissenbach (Mayhew Lake Township)
1974 - John Gans (Graham Township)
1973 - Zwick Bros. (Sauk Rapids Township)
1972 - Orville Mielke (Sauk Rapids Township)
1970 - Edman Lezer (Gilmanton Township)
1969 - Lloyd Rudnitski (Alberta Township)
1968 - Al Bechtold (Mayhew Lake Township)
1967 - Alfred Studanski (Mayhew Lake Township)
1966 - Arthur Uhing (Langola Township)
1965 - WM. Krauel (Granite Ledge Township)
1964 - WM. Kranz (Alberta Township)
1963 - Kevin Latterell (St. George Township)
1962 - Art Studenski (Mayhew Lake Township)
1961 - Leo Tracy (St. George Township)
1960 - Roy Weigenant (Graham Township)
1959 - Jerome Lubbesmeier (Mayhew Lake Township)
1958 - Jim Latterrell (Good Year) (St. George Township)
1957 - Conrad Emmerich (Glendorado Township)
1956 - Ed Neeser (Minden Township)
1955 - Elmer & Clarence Ruhoff (Gilmanton & St. George Townships)
1954 - Henry Frerich (Watab Township)
1953 - Ernest Foss (Graham Township)
1952 - Ronald Vierkant (Minden Township)
1951 - Tony Ebnet (Minden Township)
1950 - Jess Jacobsen (St. George Township)
1949 - Donald Talbert (Minden Township)