Cass SWCD supervisor receives Outstanding Supervisor Award

James Ballenthin was awarded Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts 2019 Outstanding Supervisor Award. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts named James Ballenthin of the Cass SWCD as its 2019 Outstanding Supervisor Award winner.

The award was announced at the 83 rd MASWCD annual meeting held Dec. 8-10 in Bloomington.

The MASWCD Outstanding Supervisor Award honors an SWCD supervisor who has demonstrated leadership and achieved significant results in the conservation of Minnesota’s soil and water resources.

In presenting Ballenthin with the award, MASWCD President Roland Cleveland noted Ballenthin has been steadfast in his positive and professional approach to enhancing the mission of SWCDs. Ballenthin has served not only on his local Cass SWCD, but also as an officer at the regional level, and participates in MASWCD’s legislative committee.

“Jim has provided thoughtful and measured perspectives in his various leadership roles,” Cleveland said in a news release. “His calm, cool and positive demeanor and outlook are always a welcome addition to any discussion or debate.”


Ballenthin has put considerable work into authoring resolutions to bring public policy before the membership for deliberation, offering ideas and opportunities for SWCDs to consider in advancing conservation and strengthening districts.

Ballenthin and his wife, Jean, are year-round residents of Cass County, living on Ponto Lake east of Backus. As active stewards of the land, they are intimately involved in private forest management, having placed a Forest Stewardship Plan on their own acreage and actively promote sound, voluntary forest management on private lands.

Ballenthin has been involved in a variety of local soil and water conservation efforts, including implementing solar power at his own home, installing shoreline vegetative buffers, managing for a variety of wildlife and a host of other voluntary conservation implementation projects.

He has been on the Cass SWCD Board for over 15 years serving as supervisor, first elected in 2004.

The Cass SWCD educates landowners and develops grassroots initiatives to conserve soil and water resources. Cass SWCD can provide willing landowners incentives to implement best management practices for soil and water conservation on their private lands on a voluntary basis, all aimed at improving and protecting Minnesota’s Natural Resources.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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