Chase Cummings – Pepin County

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For the past six years Pepin County’s Conservationist, Chase Cummings has been working with volunteers to monitor water quality, educating students interested in natural resources, and helping community members implement conservation practices. We asked Chase to tell us a little about himself, his vision for the future of conservation, and what he loves about his job. 

What previous experience/education prepared you for your position as County Conservationist?

I grew up around grandparent’s beef cattle operation and the potato and vegetable industry.  I attended UW-Stevens Point and graduated with Soil and Land Management degree.  I was a crop scout for a large potato and vegetable producer in the Central Sands for several years.  I managed the land application program of paper mill bio-solids for Stora Enso in Wisconsin Rapids.  Finally, prior to my Pepin County employment I worked as County Feedlot Officer and Zoning Coordinator for Todd County, Minnesota.

What drew you to Conservation work?

Being able to maintain an agricultural connection, and have an impact on protecting our natural resources for future generations?

What are you currently working on?

Nutrient management implementation, cover crops, invasive species, stream monitoring, stream restoration, budgeting.  Just to list a few…

What project are you most proud of? 

Conservation Field Days for 5th and 6thgrade students in Pepin County.  Educational events held twice each year that expose students to a variety of outdoor activities and careers that have an impact on our natural resources.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Being able to assist a landowner or citizen in solving a problem or concern they may have.

What does the future of Wisconsin conservation look like?

Wisconsin’s long, rich history of being a leader in conservation has taken a back seat to other initiatives.  Wisconsin seems to be forgetting the important role our natural resources play in the success of our economy.  Without resource conservation, there is increased potential for long term negative economic impacts.

How would you improve the state of conservation in Wisconsin?

Make conservation a top priority.

What is one interesting fact about your county that few may know?

Wisconsin’s Last Remaining Wood-framed Courthouse is in Pepin County.  Also, this may or may not be a fact, Pepin County boarders Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River, which has been known to be home to Pepie.  Pepie is thought to be a relative to the Loch Ness monster “Nessie”.  There is a currently a $50,000 reward for indisputable proof of Pepies existence. … I don’t know, that just what they tell me.

What is your favorite outdoor activity in your county?

Hunting, Fishing, XC Skiing

When you’re not working, you’re… 

Outside in the yard, garden, woods or training for the Birkie.