New efforts begin to help better understand farming community needs for conservation.

Over the course of the next few months, local government units and citizens are taking a new approach to partnerships with cattle ranchers and livestock producers.

Ranchers and farmers, who have seen conservation practices succeed on their Crow Wing County and Cass County land, have been commissioned to engage in farmer-to-farmer conversations about soil and water conservation. The goal is to promote practical solutions to the conservation hurdles farmers and ranchers face in their day-to-day operation.

Opportunities to build win-win scenarios are being sought - not only for the sake of soil health and water quality, but also for the "rural Minnesota way of life."

These efforts are part of the One Watershed, One Plan Pine River Comprehensive Watershed Plan.

This is a partnership between Cass County and Crow Wing County and the Cass and Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation Districts to protect and improve the Pine River Watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains to a particular watercourse or body of water. The Pine River Watershed starts near Backus, includes the Pine River and its tributaries and flow into the Mississippi River northwest of Crosby.

Funding for this is in part by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

For more information, visit or contact Melissa Barrick at or 218-828-6197.