NACD Forestry Resource Policy Group Meets in North Carolina

Over the weekend, the NACD Forestry Resource Policy Group (RPG) met jointly with the Southeast Region in Cherokee, North Carolina. The Forestry RPG, pictured here, consists of representatives from each of NACD’s seven regions, as well as representatives from NCDEA and NASCA. The group meets twice each year to discuss resource issues and policy related to conservation district forestry efforts.

The Forestry RPG attracted a group of speakers for its Monday session, which included North Carolina State Forester David Lane, North Carolina State Conservationist Timothy Beard, and Minority Landowner Magazine Editor Victor Harris. A three-person panel provided an update on longleaf and shortleaf pine restoration efforts, and Dr. Alan Franzluebbers spoke on silvopasture advancements in the Southeast. The Forestry RPG visited a tribal forest thinning site on Tuesday, joined by partners representing the U.S. Forest Service, NRCS, and American Forest Foundation.

Search #NACDforestry2016 on Twitter for more about this year’s meeting in Cherokee. To learn about the Forestry RPG, visit the NACD website or contact Forestry Specialist Mike Beacom at

NACD Communications Team Joins Forces with NRCS

NACD Director of Communications Whitney Forman-Cook and Communications and Operations Coordinator Sara Kangas were in Minneapolis last week to talk shop with NRCS’ state public affairs specialists and its national headquarters communications team. Forman-Cook (pictured below, right) presented on the National Conservation Planning Partnership, which has been putting the final touches on a reference publication due out soon.

She also swapped her NACD hat for a reporter’s to answer questions on media relations. That panel discussion was so well received, Forman-Cook was asked to hold a media relations and news writing workshop for NACD members and partners at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Denver. If you’re the communications lead in your district or state association and would like to partner with your NRCS state public affairs specialist or national association, reach out to our team by emailing

White House Hosts Workshop Celebrating Drones

Since the FAA released its final rules on commercial drone use in June, federal agencies have been exploring ways to incorporate this emerging technology. The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted a workshop last week, entitled “Harnessing the Potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology,” to celebrate and encourage the advancement of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), otherwise known as drones.

At the workshop, OSTP announced funding that will be used by various federal agencies to increase research into drone use, including $35 million by the National Science Foundation to better understand different beneficial applications of drones from disaster response to fighting wildfires and monitoring applications for agricultural ecosystems.

NACD believes that we are just scratching the surface of the benefits drones can provide to the conservation community and will continue to work with interested stakeholders and the federal government. To learn more about the workshop, click here.

Mark your calendar: NACD August U&C Webinar

The next monthly NACD Urban and Community Conservation Webinar, scheduled for August 18 from 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT, will focus on urban gardens and farming.

The Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition (DEUFFC) supports community-oriented urban agricultural projects that expand healthy food access in Northern Delaware. Through a collaborative approach to urban farming, the organization of almost 60 stakeholders brings together resources and technical assistance. Together with New Castle Conservation District, DEUFFC will show how they work together and with others to efficiently and effectively increase the availability of fresh vegetables and fruits through growing, distribution, education, marketing, and policy development.

These popular events, held on the third Thursday of each month, are sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in partnership with the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group. There is no cost to participate, but space is limited. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, email Debra Bogar at with your name, title, district or business name, state, and email address. Information to access the webinar will be sent by email.

New online tool helps residents manage their property

A new tool from the Texas A&M Forest Service called ‘Plan My Land’ was released recently as a method for users to locate, map, and manage their properties and project areas. Individuals can support the land by identifying areas near streams, wet areas, and steep slopes, which can help with the determination of elevation profiles and watershed areas. The operation provides information on the characteristics of mapped soil types, including its rutting potential and erosion hazard, and it allows users to determine proper parameters and operational considerations for best management practice recommendations. Learn more by visiting the Plan My Land website.

Soil health champion spotlight

Brendon Rockey is a third generation farmer from Center, Colorado, who farms 550 acres of potatoes and chemical-free potato seed, followed by a rotation of multi-species cover crops. Brendon shifted his farming operation to what he calls a ‘biotic approach’ or agroecological system. His vision changed once he understood that traditional farming methods of growing potatoes requires the application and expense of lots of “cides”; herbicides, fungicides, nematicides, and pesticides, as well as fertilizer. He now manages his potato crop by prioritizing microbial populations in the soil and overall farm health.

On Rockey Farms, he plants Desi Chick Peas and Chickling Vetch as a companion crop with potatoes, which replace expensive synthetic nitrogen fertilizer applications. After the potato crop year, he grows a multi-species cover crop and uses livestock as a tool to mend the soil and eliminate the need for deep tillage. An additional benefit is the increased quality of his potatoes and increased demand and popularity of his potatoes by consumers.

Brendon serves on the Center Conservation District board, holds soil health tours on his farm, and travels across the nation, showing growers how to end their chemical dependencies and increase their soil health. To learn more about Brendon, read his Soil Health Champion profile here.

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