Mower Soil and Water Conservation District and Mallery family honored at Minnesota conservation meeting

During its 85th annual meeting, the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts honored Mower Soil & Water Conservation District and Mallery Jerseys Inc.

Danae Sheppelman / Grand Vale Creative LLC

Recognized for its extensive conservation work and leadership efforts, the Mower Soil & Water Conservation District received the 2021 SWCD of the Year Award for Minnesota.

During its 85th annual meeting in Bloomington, the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts honored Mower SWCD with the award. The award recognizes and inspires leadership within the SWCDs to go above and beyond the base capacity.

According to a press release announcing the award, Mower SWCD was recognized for having an exceptionally engaged board, highly skilled technical and administrative staff and an outstanding manager, "all dedicated to delivering a wide range of conservation services geared toward their diverse base of land and water resources."

“Whether you are in the city of Austin, live along the Cedar River or one of Mower County’s many creeks or streams, or farm in one of the rural areas of the county, you are benefiting from the efforts of the Mower Soil and Water Conservation District,” said LeAnn Buck, MASWCD executive director. “The efforts of their board and staff truly rise to the level of being exceptional, and MASWCD is proud to recognize Mower SWCD for all their hard work.”

Mower SWCD’s board members are effective communicators with their county board as well as their SWCD peers in their region and across the state, Buck said.


Mower SWCD district manager, Justin Hanson, is a graduate of the MASWCD Leadership Institute, and, along with leading a strong staff of conservation professionals, serves in leadership roles at the regional and state level.

Technical staff with Mower SWCD also have a depth of experience and expertise designed to meet the needs of and communicate effectively with Mower SWCD residents, said the release, whether it be on issues of soil health, water-quality monitoring, habitat work or watershed management, among others.

Hanson expressed great appreciation for the SWCD award and thanked the many partners who have worked with the Mower SWCD staff. The award is an example of how effective conservation can get done when you have “everyone rowing downstream together,” he said.

He described his Mower SWCD staff as a “brilliant and passionate group” that allows him to pursue grants and take chances on innovation.

“I always know that we have the talent to dream big and then set our staff free to go and deliver,” Hanson said.

He also credited the Mower SWCD board and the strides it has made in recent years. The board is more than an advisory group for the staff, Hanson said, adding, “They roll up their sleeves and get involved with our work.”

Mallery Jerseys Inc. named Outstanding Conservationist of the Year

The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts also honored Mallery Jerseys Inc. with the Outstanding Conservationist of the Year Award for Minnesota.

The award, sponsored by MASWCD with support from The Farmer magazine, recognizes farm families, individuals, conservation organizations, and other groups for their accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.


Recognized for their work in implementing a wide range of conservation practices, the Mallerys were one of eight finalists for the award from across the state. They were nominated for the award by the Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District.

The Mallery family are owners and operators of Mallery Jerseys and operate a 485-acre dairy farm milking with, on average, 250 head, as well as producing corn for silage and grain along with hay to feed their cattle.

The Mallerys started farming in Shafer, Minnesota, along the escarpment of the St. Croix River, in the 1950s. Due to their unique position and close vicinity to a National Scenic Riverway, the Mallerys have always seen conservation as important to their operation.

The conservation practices they have implemented include cover crops, buffers, diversions, water and sediment control basins, no till, nutrient management, and integrated pest management. In 2020, Mallery Jerseys, Inc. achieved certification in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Conservation Program.

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