SWCD Supervisors and Staff

The Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) supervisors, are part of a respected, and progressive governmental organization responsible for the wise management of Indiana's soil and water resources an the environment in which we live.

As supervisors, they are a government officials charged with properly conducting the affairs of the local district. The agencies that assist the district look upon the supervisors as a local program priority-setter and policy decision-maker. Organizations that cooperate with the district consider the supervisors a partner in soil and water conservation.


Mark Darnold, Chairman

Mark lives in the eastern part of the county with his wife, Jenny.  They have a daughter and a son.  Mark has 30 grass raised beef cows on his 120 acre family farm in northeast Jefferson county.  In addition to growing hay  to sustain his cattle, Mark also raises several acres of fresh produce each year.  Mark has worked as an automotive technician in Jefferson county for the past 25 years.  He became a member in 2016.

Jeff Ferguson, Vice-Chairman

Jeff lives in Lancaster with his wife, Annlena, two daughters and one son.  He grew up and currently works on the family farm where they raise about 65 head of cattle and row crop about 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and winter wheat.  Jeff graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Ag Business.  He also works at Dow Chemical and is an auctioneer.  Jeff became a member in 2017.

Casie Auxier, Member

Casie Auxier lives in the Canaan area of the county with her fiancé Chris.  She and Chris farm several acres of row crops where they no-till and plant cover crops.  They also have a beef cattle operation.  Casie is the program director for Historic Hoosier Hills R, C & D.  Casie has an associate degree from Ivy Tech State College in Paralegal.   Casie became a member of our board in 2018.

Ethan Owens, Member

Ethan resides in Deputy.  He is a graduate of Madison Consolidated High School and Purdue University.  He majored in Ag Systems and Crop Sciences.  Ethan works at Crop Production Services and farms with his father.  They farm 800+ acres of grain and raise crossbred cattle.

Dale Sides, Member

Dale has 150 acres; half wooded, 30 acres in warm season grasses, 10 acres in Hay, and two horses. He has worked closely with IDNR Biologists establishing warm season grasses for private lands, and assists land owners with prescribed fire to manage their grasslands. Dale became a member in 2009.


Vicki Wehner, District Coordinator

Vicki serves as Office and Financial Manager, as well as Environmental Educator. She provides assistance and natural resource information to landowners. Vicki has completed several business courses at Ivy Tech and has also been a lifelong resident of Jefferson County. Vicki has served as the District Coordinator/ Environmental Educator since March 2016.

Tim Schwipps, Natural Resource Conservation District

On April 18, 2011 Tim Schwipps was assigned the acting District Conservationist, USDA/NRCS for Jefferson County. Tim has provided guidance and technical assistance to land owners. He received his B.S. degree in Environmental Science Agronomy from Purdue University. Tim became a District Conservationist for NRCS in 2004.

James Hall, Erosion and Sediment Control Expert

James has a degree in Environmental Management from Indiana University, and has nearly 15 years of experience in the environmental field. He owns and operates L&H Environmental, an environmental consulting firm in Madison. He is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) and has spent most of his 15 years working on water related projects. He routinely completes Rule 5 inspections and reviews/develops SWPPPs for construction projects. He regularly attends storm water training held by IDEM to stay informed of industry standards and best practices. He is a native of Jefferson County, and looks forward to serving his community in this way.