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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: Caribe Soil Conservation District reinstates Youth Board and inaugurates irrigation system
By Gelyan Reyes

In 1992, Caribe SCD became the first district in Puerto Rico to ever have a Youth Board. The Youth Board consisted of eight members (five Board Supervisors and three Vocals) and was a self- sufficient and complete team with its own regulations and bylaws. The Caribe SCD Youth Board operated from 1992-2000 and achieved many goals.

NACD Blog: Long Journeys and Worthy Destinations with Montana Envirothon
By Sunni Heikes-Knapton

Sometimes long roads are metaphorical, and sometimes they are literal. During the last days of April, both kinds of roads were a theme for a group of Montanans who gathered in Lewistown.

Feedstuffs: Ecosystem Services Market Consortium expands

Just three months after its official launch, the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) has added eight more private-sector companies and nonprofit organizations to the group. The move demonstrates the groundswell support surging throughout all levels of the agricultural supply chain as it seeks to advance the development of a market-based approach to promoting land stewardship to build healthy soils, sequester soil carbon and conserve and improve the nation’s water.

Agri-Pulse: Long-stalled disaster aid clears Congress
By Philip Brasher

The House on Monday finally cleared a $19.1 billion disaster aid package that will benefit farmers and communities who suffered from a series of natural disasters stretching back nine months.

The Hill: House advances $24B agriculture bill
By Niv Elis

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday advanced a $24.3 billion agriculture spending bill, readying the measure for a floor vote later this month. The bill, which passed 29-21 along party lines, rejected President Trump’s request to slash the budget by 15 percent, instead opting to add $1 billion to current discretionary spending levels.

Agri-Pulse: USDA pressed to ease cover crop rules as farmers struggle to plant
By Philip Brasher

A bipartisan group of senators joined some Corn Belt farm groups in appealing to the Agriculture Department to ease restrictions on haying and grazing of cover crops that farmers will plant on acreage they were unable to sow to corn or soybeans this year.

Southeast AgNet: USDA Opens Signup for National Conservation Innovation Grants

USDA has announced they are investing up to $12.5 million to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through July 29, 2019, for national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving that boosts production on farms, ranches, and private forests – ultimately, they improve water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat.

The New Food Economy: #NoPlant19: Unrelenting rain forces Midwest farmers to make a painful choice—plant or wait until next year
By Sam Bloch

No-till farming, cover cropping and other conservation-based methods that prevent soil erosion and keep lands intact are transitioning from little-known practices employed by a few, to techniques that are being touted, more and more, as necessary measures to abate the aftermath of biblical rains. Transitioning a farm from a conventional operation is a complicated process that requires tremendous patience. But this weather may require some farmers to make that choice.

NPR: 1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns
By Kirk Siegler

The chief of the U.S. Forest Service is warning that a billion acres of land across America are at risk of catastrophic wildfires like last fall's deadly Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise, Calif.

The Fence Post: Pilot project will assist Nebraska farmers in addressing ephemeral gullies on highly erodible land

Nebraska is one of five states selected by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to take part in a pilot project that will provide financial assistance to farmers to address ephemeral gullies on highly erodible land.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Forest Service unveils plan for Utah’s largest logging project in years to clear out beetle-ravaged trees
By Brian Maffly

The beetle-devastated spruce stands of Utah’s Wasatch Plateau will get an extreme makeover under a 15-year plan developed by the U.S. Forest Service that is expected to result in the largest logging project the state has seen in years.

KRWG: A wellspring of innovation: NMSU researchers test new water conservation practices

Angadi had an idea that was simple yet innovative: why not create special, non-irrigated “circular buffer strips” within the irrigated fields in Eastern New Mexico and West Texas? With center-pivot irrigation systems widely used in the area’s farmlands, such buffer strips could provide protective conditions to shield young plants from wind and conserve water.

The New Food Economy: To address the climate crisis, state legislatures are pushing dozens of bills on soil health
By Sam Bloch

Last week, something unusual happened: A group of United States senators talked about soil health. During the Senate Agriculture Committee’s climate change hearing, the first such public discussion in a decade, a soybean farmer named Matthew Rezac told them why keeping healthy soil—not just reducing greenhouse gas emissions—was a key part of what farmers could do to cool a warming planet.

The Seattle Times: Buckwheat is not just for pancakes anymore — it’s also an awesome cover crop
By Colin McCrate

Buckwheat makes a particularly handy cover crop, because it grows quickly and performs well in hot weather. It can shade out even very competitive weed species, making it an excellent form of first aid for degraded soil. It produces a potent nectar source for bees, draws phosphorus from the soil and decomposes so quickly that new crops can be planted in its place only weeks after it’s tilled into the soil.

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