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Tama SWCD to celebrate Diamond Jubilee Jan. 18

January 13, 2017
Traer Star-Clipper

Tama Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is preparing to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee marking its 75th anniversary. Tama SWCD's commissioners-Jack Boyer, Lou Ellen Brown, Al Schafbuch, Jennifer Vazquez-Koster and Jan Wobeter-invite the public to an Open House on Wednesday, January 18, 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Tama County Nature Center at Otter Creek Park, rural Toledo. In case of inclement weather, the Open House will be held at the same time and location on January 19.

The District was established on January 21, 1942 for the purpose of preserving the natural resources of this county. Its first goals were to educate farmers of the need for contoured row patterns and commercial fertilizer. Bromegrass and birdsfoot trefoil were introduced in order to improve pastures.

During WWII, its Commissioners worked with the Agricultural Adjustment Act Committee (now USDA-FSA) in establishing production goals. The 1950s found the District beginning to help the Committee administer federal conservation programs. Farming practices started making major changes in the 1960s- graded terraces began to be installed, and farmers experimented with minimum tillage practices.

In the 1970s, new statewide soil loss laws were first tested in Tama County, state cost-share programs began, tile outlet terraces were introduced, and increased state and federal interest in water quality and soil conservation expanded the duties of District Commissioners. The District established an education committee, beginning its commitment to provide outdoor education to future generations. This committee initiated an annual fifth grade outdoor classroom in 1974 and the annual distribution of tree seedlings to sixth graders in 1981, both activities continued to this day.

The first of the District's many watershed projects began in the 1980s, finding the District establishing partnerships with numerous state and federal agencies. Iowa State University watershed research studies were conducted, the District cooperated with local implement dealers to make interseeders and no-till planters available for producers, and the first District-owned machinery was purchased for public use in order to encourage conservation practices.

More recent changes in the agricultural industry include a shift to fewer but larger farming and livestock operations. Both appear to have locally increased pressure on row crop production, sometimes to the detriment of our county's soil conservation and water quality efforts. However, increased focus on soil health, water quality, and the importance of wetlands and crop diversification finds us rediscovering lessons learned by generations long past and holding new hope for the future.

None of the District's efforts of the past 75 years could have been possible without the fortitude, curiosity, and dedication of countless men and women throughout Tama County. The District's immeasurable gratitude goes to them- the innovators, the role models, the protectors of our county's soil and water resources.

Special thanks go to those who have served as Tama Soil & Water District Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners: E.P. Skrable, Robert Lyon, Fred Bruene, William Kremenak, Clifford Ryan, George Kos, Forrest Hill, John Norton, Robert Smith, George Hauser, Howard Lyon, Harold Higgins, Robert Smith, Harold Stump, Melvin Kupka, Lester Lenhart, J. Harry Scurr, Robert Wiese, Joe Lyon, Welby Dixon, Ken Bruene, Robert Fontinel, Dan Bruene, Larry Lorenzen, Dave McMillan, Frank Bro, Rich Havran, Russell Lyon, Patricia Kadrmas, Ferd Kvidera, Dennis Emke, Yvette Berner, Melody Bro, Dennis Wieben, Stanley Dostal, Cathy Wieck, Andy Chyma, Rollie Haynes, David Beane, Dean McKenna, Chris Behrens, Jody Kasal, Jeff Bruene, Mike Snider, Chad Mussig, and John Kopriva.



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