A Legacy of Stewardship
The Isabella Soil Conservation District was officially approved on March 11, 1948. The District included the eight townships in the west half of the County. A referendum was held in each township at that time. The first directors elected were: Don Uebele, Blanchard; Don Houghton, Mt. Pleasant, and George Skinner, Lake, with Clyde Beutler, Weidman and Harold Decker, Riverdale, as the two Directors appointed by the State Committee. County Agent B.C. Mellencamp served as Secretary from the formation of the District. Everett Gulembo was the first County Planner and rightly deserves credit for the rapid growth of the District. Upon his selection as District Conservationist, Gordon Hatch and Dan Balog followed as County Planners.
The east half of the county was annexed to the District in March of 1951 by a referendum held in the eight townships, thus making available assistance to every farmer in the County. The value of the District and the response by farmers may be shown by the fact that 307 applications have been received by the Board of Directors and 171 farm plans developed by cooperators since 1948. Fifty-three neighborhood groups have been organized with 34 of these during 1951, with 238 farmers as members.
An early and still remaining obstacle that the District faces is impressing upon each individual in the sabllea District the need and importance of soil and water conservation in the District, in Michigan, in the United States, and in the world. The District strives to communicate these important issues to the public of Isablela County and encouraging people of all ages to assume responsibility conserving our natural resources.
A Year in Focus: 1952
The District provides many beneficial services and quality natural resource assistance to the Isabella County community. To fully demonstrate the District's tireless effort across the years of its existence, below is provided one year's worth of goals, activities, objectives and accomplishments, derived from the year 1952.
By examining our history, we quickly discover that conservation issues that existed then are still important concerns today. May this small sample of the District's many dedicated years of service be a positive reminder and an encouraging inspiration as the District carries on to be a strong partner to the community in order to improve natural resources conservation for generations to come.
Immediate Agricultural Needs | 1952:
"Get more pasture improvement" - Goal of 2,000 acres
"More sod waterways established "- Goal of 25 miles
"Strip cropping" - Goal of 3,000 acres
"Contour farming" - Goal of 20,000 acres
"Tree planting" - Goal of 100 acres
"Drainage" - Goal of 1,000 acres
"Rotations" - every farmer use a conservation rotation
District Education Activities | 1952:
54 radio broadcasts
County Fair Exhibits
65 news stories and pictures
252 color slides of cooperator activities
200 black and white pictures of cooperator activities
34 new neighbor groups organized - 238 farmers
24 aerial trips on the First Annual Air Tour
First Annual Veteran Soil and Water Conservation Tour
7 general farm tours 4 schools in the county visited
15 neighbor groups organized in east half of the county
Won second place in the Michigan Statewide Goodyear Soil and Water Conservation Contest
Four country run-off plot located 1/4 mile North of junction of U.S 10 and M 66 constructed and in action
Received lime from Collins Farm Supply to mark out tour stops during Annual Air Tour
Farm equipment dealers of Isabella County extended excellent cooperation in applying soil conservation the land.
Worked with G.I. groups in the District through tours and demonstrations
46,000 transplant pine trees were planted by District cooperators
District directors, their wives, the three top cooperators and their wives attended a banquet sponsored by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company near Reed City.
Objectives | 1952:
"To enlighten all rural and urban folks to the importance and necessity of proper land use, through publicity channels, demonstrations, tours, and all other available means."
"To make possible the District's aim of 'soil and water conservation practices on every farm'."
"To improve our community and afford a higher standard of living for all, by conservation of our natural resources."
"To encourage all people to utilize and put every acre to the best use."
Accomplishments | 1952:
119 farmers asking for assistance - 19,588 acres
48 Basic plans - 4,183 acres
20 Initial plans prepared - 1,560 acres
Crop residue management - 106 acres
Constructed waterways - 3.79 miles
Pasture improvement - 64 acres
Wildlife area improvement - 49 acres
Woodland management - 117 acres
Strip cropping - 523 acres
Contour farming - 140 acres
Cover crop - 49 acres
Tree planting - 53 acres
Farm ponds - 3 acres
Diversions - 2.74 miles
Closed drains - 14,432 feet
Open drains - 2.08 miles
Seeding of pasture - 91 acres
Educational meetings - 60
Radio - 54
News articles - 65
Tours - 32
Neighbor groups located - 25
Groups ready for planning - 15
People in groups ready - 87