Luke and Alice Retka of Derrynane Township were chosen as the 2022 Outstanding Conservationists by the Le Sueur County SWCD Board of Supervisors.
Luke and Alice live on the Retka family farm that Luke’s grandfather purchased in 1932. Growing up, Luke’s family grew row crops, hogs and cattle. Luke and Alice married and raised their 2 children on the farm while continuing to raise row crops. Luke also worked off the farm at Distel Grain and did some con-tracting work with his cousin. Alice was a very active volunteer while their children were growing up. She worked at the local schools and the library.
The Retkas were recognized for their various conservation practices and energy saving methods they have installed. Currently they are working with the SWCD on a 52 acre CREP wetland restoration.
Luke and Alice have also enrolled land into CRP, installed erosion control practices such as terraces, decreased tillage with ridge till and established drainage ditch buffers prior to the State of Minnesota signing the Buffer Law in 2015. They have planted several acres of trees and established pollinator plantings throughout their farm.
Luke’s other projects include converting 2 of his grain bins into a “sugar shack” to make maple syrup, adding a green-house onto the south side of their barn, and installing 6 solar panels which produce 5 times more electricity than they use.