History

Map of Water Resources in Olmsted County

Soil and Water Conservation Districts were organized as a result of the 1930's "Dust Bowl". With the eight year unrelenting drought in the early 1930's, over produced land eroded and blew away with the wind. Black dust storms covered the nation with little visible sun light. 

Hugh H. Bennett was instrumental in the passage of the Soil Conservation Act of 1935. The act was the beginning of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) agency of the US Department of Agriculture, which is known today as the Farm Service Agency. Programs where established assisting farmers with financial payments to apply new farming practices to their land. Conservation practices included planting trees for shelter belts, crop rotation, contour and strip plowing, and cover grasses.

To make private land conservation a success it would take local farmers acceptance and the promotion of new farming practices. President Roosevelt realized this and in 1937 appealed to states recommending legislation to allow the formation of Soil Conservation Districts by local landowners.  

The Upper Zumbro Soil and Water Conservation District was established September 25, 1940 under MS 103C as a governmental subdivision of the state. This District was to be the state's fifth established Soil and Water Conservation District. 

The Upper Zumbro Soil and Water Conservation District encompassed eight Olmsted County townships and three Dodge County townships. On petition from farm owners the nine remaining townships in Dodge County were added in September of 1944.  In 1945 the remaining ten townships of Olmsted County were added.  The division of Olmsted and Dodge Counties was decided in June of 1947.  This resulted in the Upper Zumbro Soil and Water Conservation District encompassing all of Olmsted County as it is today. It wasn't until October 10, 1978 that the District changed its' name to what we know it as "Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District".

Resources:

www.pbs.org 
History Upper Zumbro Soil and Water Conservation District 1940 to 1965
www.swcs.org 
www.nrcs.usda.gov