The McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District
The McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District proudly preserves McLean County’s most valuable resources. Our desire to protect soil and water, and serve area producers is 78 years strong. The experienced staff and strong dedication to conservation gives landowners professional options and solutions to protect their investment. The past and present District Board of Directors has given this county the strong leadership and correct direction to maintain the rich agricultural integrity of McLean County.
McLean County is the largest and one of the richer agricultural counties in the state of Illinois. It owes this distinction to the heritage of a fertile soil- a soil developed over centuries from the accumulation and deterioration of plant and animal life.
Tall dense growth of bluestem and other grasses carpeted the prairie. Lakes and swamps dotted the landscape. Heavy growths of trees and underbrush covered many of the slopes, fish, birds, and wild animals abounded. But alas, man came and appropriated these resources to his own benefit. He cut the forest, he killed the wildlife-he plowed the prairies- he exploited the fertility of the soil. He destroyed organic matter-he muddied the waters. Erosion by wind and water followed his erring course.
In order to focus attention on these devastating processes and to halt these ruthless in roads on this sacred heritage and to restore the some degree the vital assets of plant food elements, the McLean County Soil Conservation District was organized in the spring of 1942. The nine southeast townships in the county, being those in the upper Sangamon river valley, comprised the original district. It was enlarged to include the entire county in the spring of 1944 and water was later added to the name. It is composed of and controlled by landowners who have elected their own Board of Directors working in conjunction with local and state agencies. Through the facilities made possible by the organization, technical assistance with problems of building and maintaining soil fertility and controlling erosion is now available to all landowners and operators in the county.
2022 Conservationist of the Year
Our 2022 recipient of the McLean County Conservationist of the year award goes to a farm family in LeRoy. Their operation focuses on premium-based markets including non-GMO, seed production, farm to table finished beef cattle, and a trucking for hire business. Eric and Jenny Mennenga are the primary owner/operators of Dolly Farms. Their three children, Emily, Ella, and William can be found mowing, building fence, working in the pasture and maintaining trees throughout the farm.
Aldo Leopold once said, “There are two things that interest me: the relation of people to each other and the relation of people to land.” I can personally attest that the farmers of this McLean County community have a true relation to this land. Dolly Farms is one great example of just that. They have adopted a no-till and reduced tillage system, accompanied by variable rate fertilizer application and split applied nitrogen application. Their fields are protected by grassed waterways and designed native filter strips have been planted along their creeks and streams. They have protected highly sensitive areas through the Conservation Reserve Program to diversify and promote pollinator and wildlife habitat alike. Emily, Ella and William aren’t just great athletes at LeRoy schools, but also great stewards working with their mom and dad to plant more than 300 trees within their rotated cattle pastures. A relation to people, a relation to the land, congratulations to Eric & Jenny Mennenga, of Dolly Farms on being awarded for this year’s McLean County Conservationist of the year!
The Watersheds of McLean County
Every person on this planet lives in a watershed. A watershed is the area that drains water to the same place. During every rainfall, the surface water flows into a stream, river, or lake. Some of that water ends up in your glass after it travels through the water cycle!
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2021 Plat Books
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Trees & Fish
The McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status or disability. This policy covers all programs, services and procedures of the District, including employment. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.