Did you know there are three conservation districts in the Otero and Crowley County area? By definition, a conservation district is a governmental entity that helps farmers and ranchers protect their land and water resources.

Back in the 1930s, during the Dust Bowl Era, the need for action became obvious. Franklin Delano Roosevelt appropriated $5 million in relief funds and tasked Hugh Bennett with the job of saving America’s soil.

Bennett came up with the idea to give the job to the people who lived on the land – the nation’s farmers and ranchers. He knew they would do what was needed, mostly at their own expense, if supplied with technical help and engineering suggestions.

The Soil Conservation Service, a permanent agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was born. Today, the organization is called Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Bennett took the unique approach of demonstration and suggestion, rather than one of domination and dictation.

By 1935 the Soil Conservation Act passed Congress. The Standard State Soil Conservation Districts Law was enacted in 1937 to establish local districts in each state.

In 1937 the Colorado Soil Conservation Act passed our Colorado General Assembly, which provided for the creation of local conservation districts.

These agencies became known as Soil Conservation Districts, although the word Soil was dropped in 2002.

East Otero Conservation District, which encompasses the northeastern section of Otero County, was formed May 25, 1945.

West Otero Timpas Conservation District was initially two separate districts.

The original West Otero District was established in June 1943, and the Timpas district was formed in September 1942.

The two districts consolidated in February 2000. Today, the West Otero Timpas Conservation District occupies a large portion of Crowley and Otero Counties.

The Olney Boone Conservation District, formed in 1952, is located in western Crowley and northeastern Pueblo County. All three of these districts are housed at the Service Center Building in Rocky Ford.

Although the needs and issues vary from district to district, all three are helping landowners conserve their resources – soil and water.

For more information or to find out which district you live in, call 719-254-7672.