NEWBERRY — Doug Heydt has been living in Newberry since 1984, but if you have a conversation with Heydt, you’ll probably hear an accent that doesn’t sound like something you would hear as a South Carolina resident.
Heydt is originally from Minnesota, and he is running as an unopposed non-partisan candidate for re-election to become Newberry County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner.
Heydt’s parents, Darrell and Lorie, are both retired farmers who live in Minnesota, where they raised Heydt and his brother Gary (Iowa), an auctioneer, and sister Denise (Colorado), who works at Compassion International.
A graduate from Hayfield High School in 1977, Heydt went to The University of Minnesota St. Paul, where he graduated with a degree in Agricultural Education in 1982. Heydt then attended Clemson University where he worked on, but did not complete his master’s degree in Reproductive Physiology.
Heydt and his wife, Susan, have two sons and a daughter — Jordan, Kelby and Kristina.
Heydt currently serves as the Newberry County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Treasurer. He is one of five board members who promote soil and water conservation in the county and throughout South Carolina. As treasurer, Heydt also works alongside District Coordinator Danielle Rowe with her programs and guides her with the resources they want to provide to the community.
“We are only on this earth for a short period of time. As a farmer, you might get 40 cropping years. Over those years, you’ve got to save the soil and water resources for the next generation,” he said. “People need to do their erosion control and be smart about how they handle their water usage. My theory is that every person that drinks a glass of water or plants a tomato should be a member of the Newberry County Soil and Water Conservation District, because they will be benefiting from the programs that we have.”
Heydt has been the chairman of Keep Newberry County Beautiful for the past three years. Keep Newberry County Beautiful was started on May 10, 2012 and is an affiliate program sponsored by the Newberry County Soil and Water Conservation District.
“Some of the programs we do here are Great American Clean Up Day, numerous community projects, such as community gardens. We’ve put in an alphabet garden at Whitmire Elementary. We’ve started working with the Newberry County Recycling Center, putting up signs that say ‘Keep Newberry Beautiful’, and working along with Stacy Guy who is the coordinator and also a board member,” he said. “We’re just getting people aware of recycling and helping them with that program.”
To run for re-election, Heydt had to acquire 120 signatures and those signatures had to be submitted to the Registrar’s Office and the Election Commission to have his name put back on the ballot.
“I’m an active farmer, so soil and water conservation practices are very important to my farm, my community and my neighbors. I would worry about the next generation, because if it wasn’t for the generation before me doing the practices they did, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to farm on the land I have now,” he said. “So if I’m re-elected I want to pass that knowledge along to the next generation.”
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.