Anybody want to come and work with us and the awesome residents of Minnehaha County? Do you have some experience in working with conservation, enjoy creating new programs, or helping to connect people to resources? We’ve got a brand new position open for an Urban Conservation Education Coordinator and we want to hear from you! Click on the links below for the full job description and application!



You can email the completed application to john.d.parker@sd.nacdnet.net, or USPS mail it to John Parker, Minnehaha Conservation District, 2408 E Benson Road, Sioux Falls, SD 57104.

The Minnehaha Conservation District and City of Sioux Falls, USDA-NRCS are Equal Opportunity Employers and welcome applications from qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.  We encourage diverse applicants because we believe having a staff that authentically reflects the community, we serve is critical to our ability to be culturally responsive.


This Friday meet Bo Fox, of Monona County, Iowa, who is working with USDA to efficiently graze his 100-head cow and calf herd and help improve soil health on his farm. Bo farms with his son, Jake, in western Iowa’s Loess Hills.

A long-time no-tiller, he has expanded his crop management from no-tilling corn and soybeans to including crop rotations with small grains, cover crops, and livestock grazing of cover crops.

While Bo has experimented with cover crops in the past, he recently worked with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to obtain planning and financial assistance to grow a diverse cover crop mix suitable for spring livestock grazing.

Bo aerial seeded a cover crop mix of ryegrass and radishes into 60 acres of standing corn and soybeans. He says establishing it early enough – in late summer or early fall – is important for overwintering. Bo uses ryegrass because of the low cost and high amount of biomass production.

Last spring, Bo grew his cover crop to about waist high before grazing it for three weeks to about a four-inch height. After removing the cattle, he let it grow back to about 18 inches, sprayed it, and then no-till planted corn into it.

When fall came, Bo chopped corn for silage to allow him time to drill in his diverse mix of cover crop. “We had severe weather issues in 2017 and 2018 where we very much relied on the ryegrass for grazing the cattle,” said Bo.

Not only does Bo’s livestock get an additional grazing source, the cover crops benefit his soils, too – improving soil moisture levels, weed management, and soil fertility.

Using no-till and cover crops, Bo has noticed better soil moisture conditions in the hot, dry summer months compared to fields with only no-till. He has also noticed that if you use cover crops for weed management, it is critical to allow the cover crop to grow and develop before termination. And by using cover crops, Bo is increasing the amount of biological activity and organic matter in the soil faster than no-till alone, which helps improve his soil’s fertility.

Bo’s late father’s land stewardship activities play a key role in his decisions today. “He was very much about taking care of the soil. We’ve always been believers in no-till and erosion control practices like terraces and different things,” he said.

To further restore the condition of his soil, Bo has taken some crop fields out of traditional corn-soybean production and planted oats with radishes, rape, and turnips, and then grazed it periodically throughout the summer. “After a year of doing that, I no-till corn into that ground and have seen a huge yield bump,” he said.

To reduce erosion, improve water quality, and provide better water access to livestock, Bo is making better use of his entire pasture by adding and relocating livestock watering tanks. He has 175 acres of rough terrain pasture that requires livestock to walk a long way for water access. Currently, the cattle use one tank and a creek for watering.

He is using the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program to offset the cost of water pipelines, a shallow drilled well, a pump, and watering tanks. This will help keep the cattle out of the creek, which will reduce erosion, give them a cleaner water source, and prevent them from getting stuck in the mud and picking up diseases.

USDA offers a variety of risk management, disaster assistance, loan, and conservation programs to help agricultural producers in the United States weather ups and downs in the market and recover from natural disasters as well as invest in improvements to their operations. Learn about additional programs.

For more information about USDA programs and services, contact your local USDA service center.

SOURCE: #FridaysOnTheFarm


Nope, we’re not talking about the legal contracts site. In the conservation world, NOLO stands for NON-OPERATOR LAND OWNER. Are you a NOLO? Do you know about all of the resources and programs available to you to help you be as successful as possible? We found a great one to present to you today. Just click on the logo below. There will be more in the future!

John Parker, our District Manager, would love to talk with you if you have any questions or concerns about your land. Give him a call at 605-370-3480 or email him at john.d.parker@sd.nacdnet.net.


Have you ever seen a rainfall simulation done? In case not, we found a great video to show you! Rainfall simulators are essentially controlled rainfalls that help you study the erosion, infiltration, runoff, and water quality of your fields. If you ever get to see one in person, take advantage of the opportunity!


While searching for a news bit to post today, we came across this article! It was fun reading about the history of our conservation district! It’s a little outdated now, with the last update being from 2012, but it’s still fun to see how far we’ve come, and yet stayed the same, in our devotion and dedication to the conservation of Minnehaha County and South Dakota. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did! Click on the picture below to view the whole article.


Steve and Cathy Peterson and their two sons, Drew and Kent, farm near Salem and Avon, South Dakota. They run a cow-calf operation near their home north of Salem.

As active farmers and avid hunters, this multi-generational farm family is always thinking of ways to improve wildlife habitat to their land.

Key habitat initiatives:

  • USDA Conservation Reserve Program
  • FSA programs
  • NRCS programs
  • Tree planting programs
  • Rotational grazing
  • Cover crops
  • Buffer strips along waterways
  • Late-season mowing

Click on the picture below to start the video:

Source: https://habitat.sd.gov/landowners/peterson.aspx


In Iowa, researchers and farmers are discovering that planting strips of native prairie amidst farmland benefits soil, water, biodiversity, and more.

When farmer Gary Guthrie describes recent changes to his farm, his eyes light up. After adding native prairie to his central Iowa operation, he remembers hearing the hum of pollinators flocking to the property.

“Oh, my goodness, it was stunning, the level of buzzing,” Guthrie said. “That moment was sort of an awakening for me.” The presence of so many bees and other insects was an indicator, to Guthrie, of the health of the land.

In 2015, Guthrie seeded four 30-foot-wide prairie strips on his 145-acre corn, soy, and vegetable farm. These prairie plantings are a new land management tool that involves integrating native plant species into farm fields as contour buffers and edge-of-field filters.

Source: https://civileats.com/2019/10/15/planting-native-prairie-could-be-a-secret-weapon-for-farmers/