NACD signs MOU with agribusiness partners to advance working lands conservation

Last Tuesday, NACD, NRCS, and a group of agriculture businesses and associations joined together to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The agreement will help establish a collaborative framework between the partners to enhance and accelerate the transfer and adoption of technologies and approaches for improved agricultural production and natural resource stewardship.

At the signing event, NACD President Lee McDaniel said the agreement “marks the beginning of a new exchange of information and expertise that will benefit and expand natural resource conservation on working lands."

The signatories were: NRCS, NACD, CropLife America, Syngenta, the Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, The American Society of Agronomy, The Agricultural Retailers Association, The Fertilizer Institute, and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

NACD, Conservation Leaders meet in Atlanta for NRCS partnership summit

Last week in Atlanta, NRCS held a symposium on “Innovative Partnerships for Working Lands Conservation.” The symposium brought together a diverse array of conservation organizations and businesses to share insights on the future of working lands conservation and partnerships.

President Lee McDaniel moderated a panel on urban agriculture in which he highlighted the work of three of the 42 conservation districts that received grants to build technical assistance capacity this summer. One of these districts – located in North Las Vegas – is featured below!

Several conservation district representatives presented on unique partnerships during the symposium including Norm Vigil with the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, Kari Hollander with the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District (Oregon), and Kara Heckert with the Sonoma Resource Conservation District (California).

Also in attendance were several NACD officers – President-elect Brent Van Dyke of New Mexico, Second Vice President Dick Went of Rhode Island, Secretary-Treasurer John McDonald of Oregon, and CEO Jeremy Peters – and executive board members, including Rick Jeans of Oklahoma (South Central Region), Tim Palmer of Iowa (North Central Region), Ron Brown of Kansas (Northern Plains Region), and Gary Moyer of Colorado (Southwest Region).

NACD’s management team partnered with NRCS in planning the event, and while in attendance, promoted the power of long-term partnerships in conservation by showcasing our member districts’ many success stories.

Conservation District of Southern Nevada

by Melissa Blair, NRCS Acting State Public Affairs Specialist in Nevada

In the middle of one of the highest food insecure neighborhoods in the City of North Las Vegas is a blossoming oasis of kale, spinach, carrots, and other fresh produce in the Zion Garden Park Community Garden at Zion United Methodist Church.

“People need access to quality, nutritious, and affordable food and the way to get that is to grow it locally,” said Amber Bosket, the project director and board secretary of the Conservation District of Southern Nevada (CDSN). Bosket is also the owner and executive director of State Renewable Energy with her husband Corrie, who donated the design and 3D model of the community garden.

NACD, in partnership with NRCS, awarded an Urban Agriculture Conservation grant to the CDSN thissummer to help the district and the Zion United Methodist Church install 40 raised garden beds, surrounded by a wrought iron fence donated by the City of North Las Vegas. The team is currently installing 24 American Disability Act (ADA) raised beds – which are taller and narrower to accommodate wheel chairs – in addition to permeable walkways, a shaded patio, 30 trees, six benches, and a composting area. The grants funds were matched two-to-one within three months from the start of the project.

Teri Knight with NRCS worked with the group on technical assistance and to acquire their farm number with the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA). The farm number will allow the group to apply for a seasonal high tunnel and pollinator garden through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The group is also working with West Career and Technical Academy, a local high school with a licensed nursery who helped grow more than 500 seedlings for transplanting to the garden. The students worked with a group of disabled young adults to plant the seedlings as part of one of their mentoring programs.

Ray Dotson, Nevada NRCS state conservationist, said, “The raw power of partnerships is on full display with this community based project that is led by the local leaders in conservation. The Conservation District of Southern Nevada made this happen – NRCS just followed their lead!”

CDSN will team up with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and other partners to host composting and healthy soils workshops, interactive educational classes on backyard conservation and integrated pest management, and healthy eating cooking demonstrations at the Zion United Methodist Church demonstration garden.

Other project partners include: Terra Firma Organics, which donated all the soil for the garden; the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, which lead efforts to promote landfill diversion by reclaiming wood to be used for the ADA beds; PD Landscaping; Nevada Partners; Impact Sand and Gravel; Star Nursery; Ahern; Lowe’s; and the Nevada Division of Forestry.

For more information about this project, contact Teri Knight at or Amber Bosket at If you would like to see your district’s conservation project featured in eResource, contact Director of Communications Whitney Forman-Cook.

Season’s greetings from NACD President Lee McDaniel and CEO Jeremy Peters

2016 has been a full and exciting year for conservation. Our district members and partners have been by NACD’s side throughout – never yielding in their support of our work to promote voluntary conservation on a national stage. Thank you for your dedication and contributions to the largest voluntary conservation delivery system in the country. And on behalf of NACD’s staff, officers, executive board, and board of directors:

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