The Nowaks

On their family farm in Wells, Mark and Lea Nowak have over 6,000 feet of buffer strips along a large county drainage ditch which eventually winds to the Minnesota River. The buffers are 33 feet wide, twice as long as what the county recommended when they were installed in 2008.

Mark is a third-generation farmer who grows corn and soybeans. He also raised hogs for 36 years on his farm in Faribault County. When Mark and Lea walk across the bridge that runs over the drainage ditch, they see the results of their conservation efforts firsthand.

We look at the water and it’s so clear and clean,” Mark said. “It’s probably a lot cleaner than what people think, based on what they’re reading in the newspaper.”

Meghan Doyle