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Conservation Clips is a weekly collection of articles distributed by NACD that provides our members and partners with the latest news in what's driving conservation. These articles are not indicative of NACD policy and are the opinions of their authors, unless otherwise noted. If you have a relevant submission or need assistance with accessing articles, please contact the NACD Communications Team.

NACD Blog: National Conservation Foundation Launches Fall Campaign, Unveils New Logo

In recent years, NCF has strengthened its organizational identity and purpose by increasing program support, refocusing our mission and vision statements, developing a strategic plan, and introducing a new cornerstone program with the Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI).

NACD Blog: Showcasing Conservation Despite In-Person Tour Restrictions
By Katrina Vaitkus

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has undoubtedly altered the day-to-day practices of conservation districts across the nation; however, conservation does not stop. The Northeast Elko Conservation District in Nevada found an innovative way to keep its annual Shoesole Resource Management Group Tour on the calendar and continue their important outreach work.


[On Thursday], National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) President Tim Palmer testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry about the challenges and successes of conservation programs in 2020, including during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Agri-Pulse: NRCS hiring on 'positive trajectory,' acting chief says
By Steve Davies

(Subscriber Only) The Natural Resources Conservation Service is on its way to filling positions needed to deliver technical assistance and other services to farmers across the country, but still has a ways to go, NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton told a House Agriculture subcommittee Thursday. Growers and conservation districts have been calling for more employees to provide technical assistance. In written testimony, National Association of Conservation Districts President and Iowa farmer Tim Palmer said that with NRCS staffing falling short of the need, “Conservation districts have stepped up” to help fill the gap.

Agri-Pulse: Biden’s CSP expansion could face Hill resistance, staffing questions
By Philip Brasher

(Subscriber Only) The centerpiece of Joe Biden’s plan to help farmers address climate change is a “dramatic” expansion of the Conservation Stewardship Program, but he’ll quickly find skeptics on Capitol Hill and among environmental groups if he gets elected and tries to carry out the proposal. “You are not going to be able to double the size of CSP or EQIP without increasing the staff at the local level,” said Coleman Garrison, director of government affairs for the National Association of Conservation Districts. 

Morning Ag Clips: Soil health practices build soil and the bottom line

Farming and raising cattle in a way that builds soil health and works with nature is also a focus of Edmunds County farmer [and NACD Soil Health Champion] Dennis Hoyle. Raised by a conservation-minded dad, Hoyle says taking care of the soil has always been “front and center” on his farm. And yes, cutting costs also motivated his decision to no-till plant winter wheat in 1982.

York News-Times: Conservation and recreation
By Chrystal Houston

[Dwaine] Kubicek, who now lives in York though owns still owns the farmland in Milligan, partnered with the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District on the repairs, taking advantage of cost-share funds in the Private Dams Program.

CAL MATTERS: Agencies that help us recover from wildfires and prepare our lands
By Ken Hale

California is home to 95 Resource Conservation Districts that serve rural, urban and suburban populations. Their conservation professionals and local experts are committed to helping communities protect themselves against the impacts of climate change, such as the super-charged fires that now strike us with great regularity.

High Plains Journal: Prairie Pothole Region gets grant

The Natural Resources Conservation Service recently announced Ducks Unlimited and partners have been awarded an $8.73 million NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant to develop a producer-focused program, named Scaling Soil Health in the Prairie Pothole Region. The program will offer farmers and ranchers technical and financial assistance, advanced training and mentorship to increase the adoption of soil health practices in the PPR of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.

Post Register: Western politicians from both parties back wildfire bill
By Nathan Brown

The Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020 would require the U.S. Forest Service to pick forests in three western states on which to carry out landscape projects to reduce fire risk.

E&E News: As herds grow, BLM keeps adding space for animals
By Scott Streater

(Subscriber Only) The Bureau of Land Management is completing contracts with ranchers in four states to place as many as 5,000 wild horses and burros rounded up off federal rangelands onto private pastureland.

USDA-NRCS: USDA Funds Conservation Innovation Through On-Farm Trials of Conservation Systems

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding $25 million in grants designed to help partners implement and evaluate innovative conservation practices that have demonstrated benefits on farmland.

Successful Farming: USDA Awards $5 Million To Support Wetland Mitigation Banking
By Megan Schilling

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will award $5 million for eight new wetland mitigation banking projects through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. This program helps conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.

ENN: New Way of Analyzing Soil Organic Matter Will Help Predict Climate Change

A new way of analyzing the chemical composition of soil organic matter will help scientists predict how soils store carbon — and how soil carbon may affect climate in the future, says a Baylor University researcher.

National Science Foundation: New study reveals that soil is a significant carbon sequestration driver

A new report by U.S. National Science Foundation-funded ecologists at Arizona State University has quantified the global soil carbon sequestered by roots and the amount leached into the soil. It reveals that climate and land-use are major influencers of belowground carbon sequestration.

University of Illinois-ACES: Redefining drought in the U.S. Corn Belt
By Lauren Quinn

As the climate trends warmer and drier, global food security increasingly hinges on crops’ ability to withstand drought. But are scientists and producers focusing on the right metric when measuring crop-relevant drought? Not exactly, according to new research from University of Illinois scientists, who urge the scientific community to redefine the term.

Foodtank: Study Says Wild Crops Can Bolster Food Access in Arid Climates

A recent study from the University of Arizona finds wild desert crops could be the key to sustainable farming in arid conditions. The article, “An Aridamerican model for agriculture in a hotter, water-scarce world,” proposes reintroducing indigenous food crops to desert regions to bolster food security, restore local ecosystems, and improve community health.

Phys.org: Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California's central valley

Their work could be revolutionary for managing groundwater use in agricultural regions around the world, as groundwater monitoring and management have been notoriously difficult to carry out due to lack of reliable data.

Fortune: As seawater moves inland, ‘ghost forests’ are spreading. Why that’s so scary
By Katherine Dunn

Rising sea levels have begun to decimate coastal forests, leaving white, dead stumps in their wake as salt water damages ecosystems that previously relied on freshwater ecosystems. Scientists call them “ghost forests.” And they’re growing at an alarming pace, say researchers at North Carolina State University.

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