The Rice Soil and Water Conservation District announced the appointment of Kathy Zeman to the District’s Board of Supervisors for District 3 (townships of Cannon City, Wheeling, Walcott, and Richland). The appointed position will last until the end of 2022.

Zeman was sworn in at the Feb. 10 meeting of the Rice SWCD Board of Supervisors and is the first woman in the history of the district to serve as a district supervisor.

The Rice SWCD Board of Supervisors seat for District 3 was vacated when Jim Purfeerst stepped down after winning the Rice County Commissioner District 1 seat in  November 2020.

SWCDs are special-purpose units of government that manage and direct natural resource management programs at the local level. Districts work in both urban and rural settings to carry out a program for the conservation, use, and development of soil, water, and related resources. SWCD Supervisors serve four-year terms and meet monthly, discussing the business of the SWCD, distributing state grant allocations to landowners, setting conservation priorities, and coordinating conservation efforts with other local units of government and state agencies.

After growing up in rural Steele County, Zeman bought a farm in the Prairie Creek Watershed in northeastern Rice County in 2006. She implemented conservation practices on her property including seeding perennial vegetation and is in the process of becoming a certified organic farm. In 2020, she became certified by the Minnesota’s Ag Water Quality Certification Program.

Zeman volunteers with the Cannon River Sustainable Farming Association Chapter, serving as the food access coordinator for the Cannon Valley Farmers’ Market. She also serves on the University of MN’s Institute for Sustainable Ag (MISA) Board, the North Central SARE (Sustainable Ag Research and Education) grant team, the MDA’s Cottage Foods Law steering committee, and the MN’s Local Food Resiliency Team.

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