Leyda, Hjelm Appointed to Fill Vacancies

Individuals from Bloomfield, Lake Park Join Board Committed to Protecting State's Soil and Water.

Published on: Jul 18, 2007

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today welcomed Jeani Leyda of Bloomfield and Susan Vance Hjelm of Lake Park to the state soil conservation committee. The appointment of Leyda and Hjelm fill two vacancies on the eleven member state soil conservation committee created by the expiration of the terms of Jennifer Steffen of Birmingham and Madeline Meyer of Odebolt.

"These new members of the State Soil Conservation Committee will help provide leadership and guidance to Iowa's soil conservation and water quality improvement efforts," Northey said. "As a former Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, I understand the import role the state soil conservation committee plays in promoting conservation."

The state soil conservation committee is made of eleven members, which includes nine members appointed to staggered terms by the Governor, and two ex-officio non-voting members.

Members represent all areas of state

Of the nine members, six are farmers from different geographical regions of the state, one represents cities and towns, one serves on behalf of the mining industry, and one member is a tree farmer. Ex Officio members are the Director of the Iowa DNR and the Dean of Extension at Iowa State University. Representatives of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Districts of Iowa, and the Iowa Association of County Engineers serve as advisors to the Committee as well.

Leyda is a farmer representing the southeast region of the state and Hjelm is a farmer representing the northwest region.

The State Soil Conservation Committee was created in 1939 as part of the Iowa Conservation Districts Law, establishing Iowa's 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The board serves as a policy making board to the Iowa Department of Agriculture's Division of Soil Conservation, and makes budget recommendations annually.

New officers elected as well

The State Soil Conservation Committee also recently elected officers for the coming year. New chair of the Committee is Duane Sand of Norwalk, the Cities and Towns representative to the Committee. Jodi Kerns of Edgewood, the Tree Farming representative to the Committee, is the newly elected Vice Chair of the Committee.

Remaining members of the Committee who continue to serve in previously appointed terms are farmer members Jean Eells of Webster City, John Sellers of Corydon, J. Kelly Tobin of New Market, and Keith Lau of Garnavillo. Todd Scott of Iowa City serves as the mining industry representative to the Committee.

Northey, a corn and soybean farmer from Spirit Lake, is serving his first term as Secretary of Agriculture. His priorities as Secretary of Agriculture are the opportunities in renewable energy, conservation and stewardship, and telling the story of Iowa agriculture.