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Dan and Rose Middendorf are finalists for state conservation award

The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts has named Dan and Rose Middendorf of Verndale as one of eight area finalists in the 2009 Outstanding Conservationist Award Program.

They will be recognized at a Dec. 8 luncheon at MASWCD's 73rd annual convention in Duluth. The awards program recognizes farm families, individuals, conservation organizations, and other groups for their accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota's natural resources.

Of the eight finalists, one will be announced as the State's Outstanding Conservationist of the Year at the Dec. 8 luncheon.

"We're proud of Dan and Rose Middendorf for what they've done in conserving our natural resources in our area," said Malinda Dexter, district manager of the Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District, which nominated the Middendorfs for the award. "It's great to be able to recognize the work they've done locally. They've provided a wonderful example for us by protecting 340 acres of land from wind erosion using permanent cover and minimum tillage practices, the Middendorfs own 160 acres and rent another 180 acres. They have 70 acres of irrigated pastures and utilize rotational grazing to increase nutrition and production on their 180 head of dairy cows. Another 100 dry cows and heifers utilize the dry land pastures. A wastewater runoff problem was corrected in 2006 that now has all the feeding area runoff going to the ag waste pit, keeping the discharge from a wetland. Soil and manure samples are tested every other year to follow the Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan developed in 2006. Deer and nongame wildlife are thriving on the farm, Meadow larks and Bobolinks and ground nesting sparrows as well as the Monarch butterfly populations have been growing in response to the rotational grazing."