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Published January 07, 2009, 12:00 AM

Farwell woman is state's 'Outstanding Conservationist'

When Verna Peterson of Farwell was selected by the Douglas Soil Water Conservation District last August as the 2008 Outstanding Conservationist for Douglas County, little did she know that award would turn into an even bigger one.

When Verna Peterson of Farwell was selected by the Douglas Soil Water Conservation District last August as the 2008 Outstanding Conservationist for Douglas County, little did she know that award would turn into an even bigger one.

Peterson was one of eight finalists for the Minnesota Association of Soil Water Conservation District’s (MASWCD) Outstanding Conservationist award. She traveled to the association’s annual meeting held in early December in St. Paul.

Each of the county winners throughout the state were featured in a slide show telling about their accomplishments.

The tension was building when it came time to announce the state winner and the winner was…Verna Peterson from Douglas County.

Peterson received an engraved Terry Redlin print for her award. Her conservation story, provided by the Douglas SWCD, is listed below:

“Verna’s parents started on the family farm in 1920 and Verna started farming herself in 1955 with rented land. She purchased the family farm in 1973 and has continued farming ever since while also taking part in conservation programs through the SWCD, NRCS and taking continuing education classes through the Alexandria Technical College to improve her farming and business management skills.

“That’s 53 years of successful farming. Verna holds an EQIP Contract with no-till alfalfa into small grain, residue management through disk/chisel on corn ground, spring tillage only on bean ground and does a rotation of corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa. She has completed the three-year requirements for EQIP in nutrient and pest management and will continue because she sees the benefits.

“Verna farms 250 acres, milks 32 dairy cows and has a 45 beef cow/calf herd, utilizing 30 acres of pastureland. Verna plants trees every year and has installed a cattle exclusion from her wetlands.

“She plants an annual wildlife food plot for the West Central Hunters for Habitat.

“Verna is an active member of the Holmes City Trinity Lutheran Church and the Farm Bureau and has gained the respect of her friends and neighbors through her hard work, installing conservation methods and continuing to learn about new techniques and programs.”

The Douglas SWCD Board of Supervisors said that Peterson exemplifies all that is associated with being a true conservationist who never feels the need to stop learning. She is a hard worker, the board added, who stands as an equal with Douglas County’s finest conservation farmers.

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