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Cass SWCD representative meets with legislators

James Ballenthin, from the Cass Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), attended a legislative briefing and meetings at the State Capitol in St. Paul on Jan. 26-27.

James Ballenthin, from the Cass Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), attended a legislative briefing and meetings at the State Capitol in St. Paul on Jan. 26-27.

He joined a group of other officials from the state's SWCDs who met in St. Paul to gather support for conservation districts' programs and issues.

"It is important for us to get the conservation message out to our elected officials in St. Paul," said Ballenthin, of Ponto Lake Township.

The 2015 legislative session will be critical to the future of conservation programs in the state and Cass County, Ballenthin said.

"This year, legislators will address issues including a biennial budget, appropriations of constitutionally dedicated sales tax funds, and policy issues. Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts are an integral component for enhancing Minnesotan's quality of life through conservation on private lands, which yields environmental, wildlife and aesthetic benefits to the public," he said.

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During the visit to St. Paul, Ballenthin met with local legislators Sens. Tom Saxhaug and Paul Gazelka and Reps. Tom Anzelc and John Persell.

The event was sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

SWCDs fill the crucial niche of providing land and water conservation services to owners of private lands. Minnesota has 89 SWCDs.

For more information on the Cass SWCD, call Kelly Condiff at 218-547-7241.

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