Darlene Miller of Litchfield was named Outstanding Conservationist for 2014 by the Meeker County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). She was honored at a December 9 luncheon at the annual convention of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Darlene’s parents moved onto a Forest City Township farm in 1941 with their family of 4 children. Times were tough during this post-depression, post-drought era. The family learned to be good stewards of the land. In 1978 Miller purchased the farm from her parents, fulfilling her father’s wish that the land be kept in the family.
Over the years Darlene has maintained wetlands and a filter strip in place along a creek running through the property. The land has been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program for years. Miller recently enrolled 207.5 acres adjacent to a large U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Waterfowl Production Area in the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement program, representing Meeker County’s largest RIM easement. This has created a permanent habitat complex of over 420 acres.
Miller’s children have fond memories of spending time at the farm with their grandparents. She says, “They still talk about all the things they did with Grandpa and Grandma as they were growing up, and I continue to remind them of the history that comes with it.” Darlene’s children and grandchild are active in the farm’s preservation. Many of them attended the luncheon with Miller to help honor her.
MASWCD sponsors the Outstanding Conservationist Award, with support from The Farmer magazine.