News & Events

USDA Announces Direct Support to Farmers for Losses Related to COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose work forces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

Applying for Assistance

Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

The local Stevens County USDA FSA office can be reached at 320-589-4886 ext 2, Morris, MN.

FILE BEFORE JUNE 2 TO RUN FOR SWCD SUPERVISOR

 Supervisor Elections coming up November 2020

Individuals concerned about water quality and soil erosion in Stevens County should consider filing between May 19 and June 2 to run for the position of Supervisor of the Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

“Supervisors play an important role in how our community deals with a wide variety of resource management issues, including water quality, soil health and conservation of our natural resources,” noted Judy Johnston, Education & Promotion Coordinator at Stevens SWCD.

“Serving as a Supervisor is a great opportunity for people who want a voice in how we manage our environment,” she said. SWCDs are special purpose units of government that manage and direct conservation programs such as the State Cost-Share Program, CREP/RIM program, tree and native grass plantings, rain gardens, etc. An elected board of Supervisors governs each of Minnesota’s 88 SWCDs.

This year, the Stevens SWCD has three Supervisor positions up for election. The general election will take place November 3, 2020. Candidates are elected county-wide, however they will represent and must reside in one of the nomination districts up for election. This year, three districts are up for election: District 1 includes Rendsville, Swan Lake and Framnas townships; District 4 includes Horton, Moore, and Hodges townships; and District 5 includes Morris, Scott and Darnen townships.

SWCD Supervisors serve four-year terms. Supervisors meet monthly to discuss the business of the SWCD, including state grant allocations to landowners, district conservation priorities, coordination with other local units of government and state agencies, and legislative priorities. Supervisors do not receive a salary, but they do receive compensation for attending meetings and are reimbursed for expenses.

If you are interested in running for SWCD Supervisor, you should file through the County Auditor’s office from May 19 through June 2, 2020. This year, filing will take place online. Please see https://www.co.stevens.mn.us/1093/Election-Information for more info about that, or call the Auditor’s Office at 320-208 -6570. There is a $20 filing fee. Additional information about the Stevens SWCD Supervisor positions can be found on the SWCD website www.stevensswcd.org or by calling the SWCD office at 320-589-4886 ext. 4.

Woodkes Named Stevens SWCD Outstanding Conservationist 2019

Congratulations to Derek and Darin Woodke of Morris and Kensington for being selected as Stevens County’s Outstanding Conservationists for 2019. Derek and Darin farm the Woodke home farm in Swan Lake Township, as well as farming land in several surrounding townships. They have farmed, working closely with their parents, Steve and Molly Woodke, and their uncle Loren Woodke, for over 15 years. Steve, Loren and their grandfather Donald Woodke were the Stevens Outstanding Conservationists in 1995, so the Woodke roots in conservation stewardship and environmental efforts go deep. Derek and Darin grew up with the positive influence of their family and neighbors to help them make lasting improvements on their farms, with conservation as a priority.

Both Darin and Derek have made it a priority to work on soil health and increase environmental practices on their land. They have worked closely with NRCS and Stevens SWCD to incorporate EQIP, CSP and nutrient management on their land. The Woodkes have been certified in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). Through this whole-farm evaluation, they identified more opportunities to utilize conservation practices that will improve their land. Their goal is to improve land quality while producing crops more efficiently.

Derek and Darin credit landlord Jerome Winter as being a driving force behind their use of no-till/strip-till and cover crops. Winter was already using these practices when the Woodkes began renting his farmland. The Woodkes continued these practices and immediately started seeing the benefits in soil health. They have been buying equipment to be able to incorporate the same practices on more of their land. Derek and Darin have also been proactively installing sediment dams to decrease erosion on their acres. They have evaluated their soil, by grid or zone sampling, and are transitioning to variable rate anhydrous application so they apply only what fertilizer is needed.

The Woodkes put lot of time and planning into doing the right things with their land and leaving a legacy for their families. Derek is married to Elysia and they have three children: Britney, Brady and Brendon. Darin and his wife Alexis have one son, James. We are proud of the Woodkes for the conservation work they do and the passion they have for conserving their land for future generations.  The Woodkes will be honored as Stevens SWCD Outstanding Conservationist for 2019, at the Minnesota Association of Conservation Districts Convention in Bloomington on December 10, 2019.

 

Our Mission

The mission of the Stevens Soil & Water Conservation District is to work with county landowners in putting conservation practices on the land and to help all citizens be good stewards of our natural resources.