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Winona County Soil & Water Conservation District

 P.O. Box 39, 400 Wilson Street

 Lewiston, MN 55952

 Phone: (507) 523-2171 Ext. 3

Outstanding Conservationist

Winona County SWCD

2013 Outstanding Conservationist:

Bruce & Linda Fort

The Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District was pleased to announce Bruce and Linda Fort (Ridgeway, MN) as their choice for the 2013 Winona County Outstanding Conservationist.  They will be honored with state recognition at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, December 1-3, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bruce and Linda Fort farm 367 acres near Ridgeway, MN.  The Fort’s have farmed for years using contour strips, corn-hay-bean rotations, and no-till.  Other conservation practices include forestry improvement and establishment, pasture improvement and management, livestock and manure management, and wildlife practices.  They have installed grassed waterways, grade stabilization structures (ponds) and are in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for some of the more sensitive lands.

Each year, the state's SWCDs recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota's natural resources.  The award program is conducted with support from The Farmer magazine, and the award ceremony receives sponsorship from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.  For more information on the award program or the Winona County SWCD, contact the Winona County SWCD, phone (507) 523-2171 ext. 3.

In addition to the 40 acres of CRP on their land, the Fort’s have an acre prairie planting near their home. Linda’s love of prairies and wildflowers is written all over her breath-taking gardens.  Rather than purchasing wildflowers for their CRP prairies, Linda harvests seeds from her acre and plants them out in the rest of their CRP. Linda’s love and respect for the land can also be seen in her “Community” column in the local papers creating awareness of the outdoors and what all of us can do to make them a little bit better.

The Fort’s believe it is their place to leave the land better for the next generation.  Although they work with the local SWCD, NRCS and DNR offices, much of what they do is on their own.  They do not need to be “sold” on conservation. It is their philosophy and their way of life.