Sibley Soil and Water
Conservation District

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Sibley SWCD

 

The Sibley Soil and Water Conservation District was chartered on February 11, 1952 and includes all of Sibley County. The total acreage is approximately 384,058 acres with 307,600 acres of cropland. There are approximately 1,200 farms in the Sibley District. Average farm size is 352 acres. The Sibley Soil and Water Conservation District is located in one of the richest agricultural regions in Minnesota. Today, Federal, State and local transportation routes and the Minnesota Valley Rail Authority serve the county. Five hundred sixty miles of public ditches and thousands of miles of private drainage tile have been installed to make the land suitable for profitable crop production. Corn and soybeans are the principal cash crops. Sweet corn, green peas and sugar beets are other important crops. Dairying, hogs, beef and poultry are presently important animal products of Sibley County. Soil erosion, water quality, drainage, and soil management are the primary conservation objectives of the District. The past conversion of woodlands, prairie and wetlands to agricultural uses, and the shift from livestock based agriculture to intensive row crop production, has changed the landscape dramatically. This change has occurred in less than 150 years. With wise use and management, these resources could become sustainable indefinitely. The District began its 57th year of conservation planning and implementation in 2009. In the first half of our history, the design of drainage systems to reclaim "wet-lands" was a primary function of the District, in addition to the more traditional practices, such as terraces and waterways. A tree program was initiated in 1973, providing woody plant materials and windbreak plans for the farmstead and wildlife habitat. Over the years, animal waste management systems became popular. With the advent of land retirement programs, restoration of threatened ecosystems, such as prairies and wetlands were added to the list. New easement options are in the works to address biodiversity and bio-fuels. In recent years, more attention has been given to water quality. However, the District favors a return to its traditional emphasis on land treatment practices, both cultural and constructed. These proven practices have always had a positive effect on water quality. Crop residue and nutrient management systems are being promoted to improve both soil and water quality. From the start, Sibley Soil and Water Conservation District has been committed to the wise use of our soil and water resources. With the help of willing cooperators, we hope to continue this legacy.

 

 

 

What is an SWCD

 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are political subdivisions of the State established under Minnesota Statute 103C.  Each SWCD is governed by a board of elected supervisors.

There are 91 SWCDs in Minnesota, providing 100% coverage of the state.  There is at least one SWCD in each of the 87 counties, and a few of the larger counties have more than one.

The first SWCD in Minnesota was created in 1938 to encourage landowners to conserve soil and water resources.  Statewide, 75% of Minnesota lands are in private ownership.  In agricultural regions, the number is quite often 95%.

SWCDs fill the crucial niche of providing land and water conservation services to owners of private lands.  Managing private lands in a way that promotes a sound economy and sustains and enhances natural resources is key to Minnesota’s environmental health.  Private landowners trust SWCDs to provide needed technology, funding and educational services because they are established in each community, governed by local leaders and focused on conservation of local soil and water resources.

SWCDs work to reduce non-point source pollution to make Minnesota's lakes and rivers fishable and swimmable.  Non-point source (NPS) pollution is a term for polluted runoff.  Water washing over the land, whether from rain, car washing, or the watering of crops or lawns, picks up an array of contaminants, including oil and sand from roadways, agricultural chemicals from farmland, and nutrients and toxic materials from urban and suburban areas.  This runoff finds its way into our waterways, either directly or through storm drain collection systems.  The term non-point is used to distinguish this type of diffuse pollution from point source pollution, which comes from specific sources, such as sewage treatment plants or industrial facilities.

Landowners across Minnesota count on SWCD technical assistance with conservation practices that protect the quality of Minnesota's greatest treasure - our natural resources. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sibley SWCD | 111 6th Street | Gaylord, MN 55334 | 507-702-7077