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2018 Outstanding Conservation Cooperators

Melvin and Marianne Hauck


Melvin and Marianne Hauck have been selected by the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District as the 2018 Outstanding Conservation Cooperators.  They raise corn and soybeans on 195 owned and rented acres.  They have been farming since 1970  and some of the practices they has implemented over the years include;

  • CRP Riparian Buffer – planted 2,400 trees
  • Buckthorn removal
  • Cover crops in 2015, 2017 & 2018
  • No-tilling since 1993
  • Gird samples for P & K and uses variable rate application for P & K
  • Split applications of N
  • 500’ of waterway

Keep up the great work Mel and Marianne!!!


Benton SWCD board meeting for September has been rescheduled. 


Was:  Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Now:  Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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Stoney Brook Farms becomes the 600th Minnesota Water Quality Certified Farm

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  Left to Right:  Brad and Mark Chmielewski of Stoney Brook Farms, Inc.  accepting their MN Water Quality Certified Farm sign from Benton SWCD Technician Casey Gwost

Left to Right:  Brad and Mark Chmielewski of Stoney Brook Farms, Inc.  accepting their MN Water Quality Certified Farm sign from Benton SWCD Technician Casey Gwost

In July of 2018, Stoney Brook Farms became the state’s 600th Minnesota Water Quality Certified Farm.  Stoney Brook Farms, Inc. is a family run farm that grows sweet corn, pumpkins, squash, peas, green beans, and fall decorative items such as indian corn and ghords. They mostly deal with wholesale and you can find their produce locally at Coborns and Cub Foods when in season. They farm over 800 acres south of Foley. The last couple of years they have also started hosting Harvest Fun Days that includes a pumpkin patch and a corn maze that the public are invited to come out and enjoy. This year their Corn Maze is a tribute to Honeybees and the maze consists of a large bee-hive. 

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Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) would like to recognize Stoney Brook Farms for their certification into the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. The MN Ag. Water Quality Certification Program is a statewide voluntary certification program that helps farmers and landowners continue protecting Minnesota streams, rivers and lakes. Through the program, farmers work with local soil and water conservation district personnel to complete a whole-farm assessment which helps identify and mitigate risks to water quality on a field by field basis.

Stoney Brook Farms are a great demonstration on how farms across the state are implementing agricultural best management practices to reduce soil erosion, improve crop production and sustainability, and protecting our water resources. Stoney Brook Farms has been innovative with incorporating soil health practices into their farm manage. Examples include no-till planting, residue management, cover crops, and crop diversity. 

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In cooperation with Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state, the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program became available statewide in 2015. The voluntary program works with farmers and landowners to highlight any existing best management practices (BMPs) that are already being applied within their fields, and also to identify any water quality risks that may exist. Local SWCD personnel can provide technical assistance to identify and design alternative BMPs that can be applied within the field to mitigate any water quality risks. Some examples of BMPs are cover crops, filter strips, water and sediment control basins, nutrient and manure management plans, irrigation scheduling, etc.

 The farmers need to meet minimum standards in all five water quality concern areas to become certified, making certification for entire farms no small task. After becoming a Water Quality Certified Farm, each farm is deemed to be in compliance with new water quality laws and regulations for 10 years. Certification is also an approved practice farmers can use to comply with the state buffer law, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rewards certified farms by placing their applications first in line for feedlot permitting. Certified farmers and landowners can use their certification status to promote their businesses as a water quality friendly farm.

The MAWQCP is administered by the MN Department of Agriculture (MDA) in partnership with the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD).  The program is growing in popularity within the agricultural community, with strong supporters such as Land O’Lakes, GNP Company, Third Street Brewhouse & MN Milk Producers Association.  If you have any questions regarding the MN Ag Water Quality program please contact Casey Gwost at 320-968-5300 ext 3.

Benton SWCD is now accepting public comments on the draft 2018-2028 Water Plan

DRAWDOWN UPDATE:  as of 7/25/18

Please click on the image above for the notification from the DNR. 

When we have more information we will post.

Please come join us on Wednesday, August 22nd

Click on the image below for a larger view.

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6/22/2018 Before and After pictures

Below are some great before and after pictures of no-tilling pumpkins into Rye Cover Crop Residue that was crimped with a roller crimper.  Call Benton SWCD if you have any questions we can help you with regarding cover crops or any other conservation needs.

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big thank you for all who ordered trees for the 2018 season!!!  

We sold a total of 27,451 trees! 



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thank you!!!

Thank you to everyone that came out to the March 14th Cover Crop Workshop. 

Special thank you to our presenters (Randy Pepin, U of M Extension Educator in Livestock and Jared Goplen, U of M Extension Educator in Crops) and a great panel of farmers that came out to give their experience with cover crops.  (Mel Hauck, Glen Kaschmitter, and Lee Zabinski)  Below are some pictures of cover crops that have been planted.



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