In the 1930s, as the Dust Bowl swept across the nation relocating an estimated 300 million tons of soil, Americans realized the devastating effects of soil erosion. Legislation began to take shape to better manage and conserve the nation’s soil. Despite these actions, Missouri was still plagued with high erosion rates.

Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Districts

The State Soil and Water Districts Commission was created in 1943 to administer the soil and water conservation districts and formulate policies and general programs for the saving of Missouri soil and water through the county soil and water conservation districts. Missouri joined the movement to localize soil and water efforts when Harrison County formed the first soil and water conservation district in 1944. In 1996, Washington County became the last of Missouri's 114 counties to organize as a district.

The Soil and Water Conservation Program carries out the policies of the Soil and Water Districts Commission following the Soil and Water Districts Law (Chapter 278, RSMo). The program promotes good farming techniques that help keep soil on the fields, our waters clean and conserves the productivity of Missouri’s working lands.

Each soil and water conservation district is governed by a board of five supervisors, responsible for all district actions and employees. Four supervisors on each board are resident county agricultural landowners or their legal representative elected to serve four-year terms. The fifth is a representative from University of Missouri Extension.

In 1982, Missouri was losing soil at a rate of 10.9 tons per acre each year on cropland, one of the highest rates of erosion in the nation. In order to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality as well as support Missouri state parks, Missouri voters passed a one-tenth-of-one-percent sales tax in 1984, now called the Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax.  The tax funds are divided equally between the Department of Natural Resources Soil and Water Conservation Program and Missouri State Parks. Slightly more than two-thirds of Missouri voters renewed the tax in 1988 and 1996, and 70.8 percent voted in favor in 2006. In 2016, all 114 counties approved the sales tax renewal resulting in the highest approval to date at 80.1 percent.

Missouri’s soil and water program is a role model for the nation. Other states envy Missouri for its dedicated tax and support of soil and water conservation. Since 1982, Missouri’s soil erosion rate dropped more than any other state with more than 10 million acres of cropland. It is estimated that more than 179 million tons of soil have been saved since passage of the sales tax.

The sales tax provides financial incentives that share the cost between the farmer and the state of implementing the installation of soil and water conservation practices that prevent or control excessive soil erosion and protect water quality.

Missouri has come a long way since the sales tax was first approved in 1984; however, there is still work to be completed. Issues affecting soil health, soil erosion, water quality can have detrimental effects on Missouri’s natural resources and agricultural productivity. Research and water quality monitoring can help verify that soil and water conservation practices are working as intended. With your continued support, we can help make Missouri an even better place to live, work and enjoy the outdoors.

Dallas County SWCD History

The Dallas County Soil and Water Conservation District was established on November 3, 1969. Though some of the early records are faded and hard to read, the following information was found regarding the SWCD board and staff.

Serving on the Board of Supervisor from 1969 to present

Rolla Duff 1969-1974
Dick Dampier 1969-1972
Bert Catron (Extension Service) 1969-1970
John C. Nimmo Jr. 1969-1971
Vience (Jiggs) Neill 1969-2000
Marvin Tribble (Extension Service) 1970-1975
Herbert Mallard 1971-1978
Dean Hicks 1972-1976
Malcolm Sherwood 1974-1976
Carl Lueker (Extension Service) 1975-1984
Rex Hamlet 1976-1988
Frank Evans 1976-1982
Rue Patrick June - October 1976
Marvin Duggan 1982-1992
James Felin 1982-2010
Gary Naylor (Extension Service) 1984-2010
Archie Kirk 1988-1989
Jerry Duff 1992-Present
Howard Miller 1994-2015
Jack Neill 2000-2008
Jim Hamilton 2008-Present
Brie Menjoulet (Extension Service) 2010-2011
Charles Barnes 2010-2015
Andy McCorkill (Extension Service) 2011-Present
Tim Brownfield 2015-Present
Bill Cahow 2015-2019
Lynette Miller 2019-Present

Employees of the SWCD

Jill Watkins District Clerk March - November 1973
Lisa Young District Clerk 1974-1976
Cindy Lane District Clerk March-July 1977
Debbie Henderson District Manager 1977 - Present
Robin (Thiesen) Dibben District Clerk/Info Ed 1992-2002
Bob Wilkerson District Technician 1992-2004
Joe Cooper 319 Project Manager 1999-2004
Ann Thiesen District Clerk/Info Ed 2001-2009
Glennis Evans SALT Manager 2002-2003
Tony Rosen District Technician 2003-2019
Matt Hale District Technician 2004-Present
Cindy Jasper District Clerk/Info Ed 2009-2010