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Weins receives leadership award at WesMin RC&D annual meeting

At left, Mel Weins, Crow Wing River Basin Forage Council, receives Outstanding Project Award from Ralph Peterson, WesMin RC&D president at their annual meeting awards ceremony held Feb. 16 in Alexandria.

Mel Weins, representing Crow Wing River Basin Forage Council, was recently recognized at the WesMin Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) annual meeting held in Alexandria on Feb. 16.

Weins was recognized for his continued leadership with grazing workshops, especially the Year Round Grazing Systems workshop held in January 2010. Weins played a key role in planning and organizing the highly successful Year Round Grazing Systems seminar, a three-day workshop conducted at Central Lakes College on Jan. 19-21, 2010. This project was selected by WesMin RC&D as an outstanding project for 2010, and the council chose to recognize key individuals for their assistance. The workshop was a first of its kind for our area, and the first time this instructor, Steve Kenyon from Alberta, Canada, came to the U.S. It was very successful with more than 100 people attending the workshop. Funds were provided for workshop expenses from various grants and sponsors, including a large Minnesota Department of Agriculture grant, an Initiative Foundation grant, and USDA-Farm Service Agency grant, as well as donations from other businesses and sponsors.

Weins chairs the Crow Wing River Basin Forage Council meetings, and was instrumental in scheduling planning meetings, developing agendas, following up on work items, and working at the workshop. Weins continues to provide leadership to citizens in the Crow Wing River Basin, Staples area, Cass, Crow Wing, Wadena and Todd counties with planning workshops and other activities for public education.

"Mel is a great local citizen volunteer who is the spark plug for the area in helping to organize others and build partnerships for successful educational events," said Ralph Peterson, WesMin RC&D council president.

WesMin Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization partnered with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service that works cooperatively with citizens and project sponsors in a 14 county area in west central Minnesota, to carry out natural resource and economic development projects that fulfill needs identified by citizens in their long range and annual plan for their area. Their mission is "working to develop human and natural resources through cooperative efforts." It was determined ranchers in the central Minnesota area were in need of business training and grazing management training in order to be more profitable and protect their natural resources, but did not have financial means to attend an expensive seminar in Canada. Without the cooperative efforts of the partnerships formed to sponsor this seminar, it would have cost several hundred dollars to attend. Because of the generous grants and contributions from the various agencies and businesses who partnered with Wesmin RC&D and Central Lakes College, the three-day seminar fee was kept at an affordable $25 per day.