On October 29 the Meeker Soil & Water Conservation District celebrated its 70th anniversary of serving local landowners in Meeker County.
The Minnesota Soil Conservation Districts law was enacted at the 1937 legislative session. The first district in the state was organized in Winona County in 1938.
The Meeker County Soil Conservation District was formed 11 years later, on October 28, 1949. At that time it included the townships of Kingston, Darwin, Dassel and Collinwood. Elwood Edling and Evert Pousi, both of Dassel, were appointed as the District’s first Supervisors. In 1950 Ray Haapala and Albert Swanson, both of Dassel, and Henry Hagen of Darwin filled out the Board of Supervisors.
Ellsworth Township was added in 1951, and the District was expanded to include the balance of Meeker County townships in 1953. All cities in the county were added in 1972. The name was changed in 1958 to the current Meeker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
The mission outlined in the program established in March of 1950 stated, “The Meeker County Soil Conservation District has been organized for the purpose of dealing with problems of soil erosion, land use and agriculture in general, as they pertain to soil and water conservation. The District is an organization through which farmers may cooperate with each other or with any local, state or federal agency in solving their problems.”
Current Supervisors of Meeker SWCD are Bob Schiefelbein, Dan Barka, Greg Jans, Fred Behnke and John Haffley. They and a staff of four continue the mission of the District: to assist land occupiers in dealing with a wide range of conservation protection, flood prevention measures, farm forestry, wildlife improvement, recreation and rural area development within the 17 townships of Meeker County.