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Longenecker Promotes Conservation in St. Joe

Published: Friday, January 18, 2019

Sarah Longenecker of Plymouth promotes conservation through the St. Joseph County (Ind.) Soil and Water Conservation District.

My family: I grew up in Plymouth, Ind. where I still reside with my husband, Adam, four daughters, and grandson.

My job consists of: I work for the St. Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District, where I help promote conservation and provide technical assistance for best management practices that improve soil health and water quality. I love that I get to work with a diverse range of clients from traditional farmers to urban and small farmers as well as urban residents and organizations.

My work with farms, large and small, deals with the utilization of soil health practices. These practices such as no-till, cover crops and nutrient and pest management, help the soil to function as nature intended: as a vital, living ecosystem that can sustain plants, animals and humans.

In the urban realm, I deal more with storm water runoff. It may be making sure that construction site runoff is properly filtered or contained, promoting rain barrels help that mitigate the storm water, or rain gardens that hold storm water runoff letting it infiltrate into the groundwater rather than running into the storm water system or directly into our water ways. These urban practices help keep sediment and pollutants out of our water benefiting not only St. Joseph County but everyone downstream.

The SWCD just wrapped up two Clean Water Indiana Grants, which we utilized to provide cost share for many of these practices, rain gardens in the urban areas, and soil health practices for rural areas. It was great to have the ability to help people "get their feet wet" in trying some of the practices without having to take on the whole financial burden alone. Some farms have gone from trying cover crops or no-till on a small amount of acreage to implementing the practice on hundreds of acres.

My favorite part about my work: The most satisfying part of my job is building relationships and being able to be a part of clients and partners succeeding in reaching their goals while also helping our environment.

Hobbies: Outside of work, my home life keeps me quite busy. Aside from spending time with my family I do enjoy gardening, landscaping and the occasional home improvement project!

My mentor: I don't have one mentor in my life. I feel that I glean little bits from many different people in my personal and professional life.

My mission in life: As well, I don't have a specific "mission" in life. I do try to make a positive impact on the people that I meet or interact with, even if it's something as simple as a smile to a passing stranger.

To nominate someone for this column, call or email Jerry Goshert (, or Caitlin Yoder@, associate editor. The telephone number for both editors is 574/831-2138.

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