Candidates vie for SWCD board seat

Published 10:23 am Friday, June 6, 2014

Two candidates have filed for the Soil and Water Conservation Board, District 3. James Kellogg and incumbent John Grass Jr. will compete for the open supervisor seat. John Bhend, John Fossey and Randy Smith are competing for the Soil and Water Supervisor position in District 4.

James Kellogg

James Kellogg has never been on the Soil and Water Conservation Board, but he hopes to be elected this fall.

Kellogg has lived in Austin his entire life. He grew up farming and still works as a farmer. He took a short leave while he served in the U.S. military in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, where he was assigned to Thailand for one year. Kellogg is a full-time farmer, and owns as well as rents farmland.

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Kellogg has served on several different boards at different times over the years, and is currently a member of the Mower County corn and soy bean growers. He is also a member of the American Legion, VFW, and DAV. When he saw that the position was open, he was interested in learning more.

Kellogg said he will bring knowledge and the ability to show concern over water quality and conservation practices to landowners. Though there is no specific issues that he is interested in looking at in the future, he is looking forward to helping landowners.

Outside of farming, Kellogg enjoys hunting and fly fishing.

John Grass Jr.

John Grass Jr. has served on the Soil and Water Conservation Board for two terms, and is looking to serve another.

Grass was born and raised in Mower County, and has lived in LeRoy all his life. He has been very involved with all kinds of livestock production and farming. Grass along with one of his sons collectively runs a farming operation and purebred Simmental cattle production business. He said there are five sons and a nephew all involved in different parts of the operation.

Grass has been involved with Mower County 4-H for 62 years, and has been involved with the Mower County Fair as well. He has also been on the Minnesota Simmental Cattle Board, the Minnesota Pork Producers for county and state, and the Minnesota Livestock Greeters Board. Grass has been on the Soil and Water Conservation Board for eight years, and he is currently serving his second term.

“It’s been an exciting learning experience and I’ve really enjoyed it,” Grass said.

Although people have told him that he needs to retire soon, Grass said he enjoys getting up at 6 a.m. and going until dark. He said he enjoys being involved with the fifth-generation family operation, and he doesn’t see a need to slow down yet.

Grass said he brings a lot of experience with him, with a lifetime of conservation and farming experience, plus the eight years he has spent on the board.

If elected, Grass is interested in continuing to make sure farmers are able to get the funding they need, as well as finding funding for different conservation projects.

“It’s been an excellent board and staff to work with,” Grass said. “I’ve really enjoyed working with them.”