McKenzie County SCD


On March 28th, 1938 the North Dakota State Soil Conservation Committee, along with the Secretary of State, certified Arnegard-Alexander Soil Conservation District as a Working Public entity. That being said, the McKenzie County Soil Conservation District, formed from the Arnegard-Alexander Soil Conservation District, can gladly celebrate 75 years of service to our area farmers and ranchers.

The first official meeting was held on June 4th with 40 farmers to discuss soil blowing problems. The follow up meeting was held on June 10th to further discuss soil blowing issues in two separate locations of Charbonneau and Arnegard with 95 and 105 farmers attending.

September 18th, 1945 the Lower Yellowstone area voted 72-0 to create an organized Soil Conservation District. The goal of the district was to make rural people more conscious of what they have and the amount of which is being wasted regarding irrigation and soil erosion.

In 1953, Gilbert Lindvig was the first recipient of the Achievement Award., which recognizes area farmers and ranchers for their conservation practices on their land. The tradition of an Achievement winner is continued today. Keith and Jill Hellmuth were selected as our 2013 recipients. Also, in 1953 the Soil Conservation District recognized the need to be in the schools and educating the students on the importance of the land. Today, the district uses a local program known as Sustainable Soil Initiative to educate and motivate all ages.

In 1980, the district posted an article that each year an estimated 4 billion tons of soil are washed away and into the waterways and another billion ton lost due to wind erosion with an estimated value $25 billion. Considering the change in our value per dollar, the estimated total losses would be $66 billion in today’s value.

In 1983, the district, now known as the McKenzie County Soil Conservation District, encouraged area farmers and ranchers to attend a Zero Tillage workshop along with a High Intensity Grazing System. This year, the district awarded their first annual Range Conservation Award to Steve Papineau for his high intensity grazing system. Mr. Papineau currently operates 76 pastures.

In 1984, the district projected around 37,000 trees to be planted in McKenzie County. Along with the “Dirty ‘30s”, the county received its own wind erosion records in the summer of 1984.  This wind storm prompted the higher need for shelter belts and windbreaks. In 2013, McKenzie County ordered 52,809 trees. Many producers are now replacing the windbreaks that have aged and are no longer working to their full potential.

After 75 years, the motivation behind the soil conservation district has not changed. The district is determined to find new ways to recognize our areas farmers and ranchers for conservation practices along with helping to educate our upcoming youth on the practices that have been instilled to conserve the land and create a greater future for others that will continually live off the land.

Contact McKenzie County SCD

Jaci Heins
District Technician
109 5th Street SW
PO Box 583
Watford City, North Dakota  58854-0583
Phone: (701) 842-6043
Fax: (701) 842-6324


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • McKenzie County, North Dakota

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