NACD Government Affairs Update

On April 18, the House Committee on Agriculture passed the 2018 Farm Bill out of committee. Following the committee’s action, the bill will proceed to the floor of the House of Representatives for debate. The Senate Agriculture Committee is also writing their own version of the farm bill, which we expect will be released in the coming weeks. A final bill must be passed into law before September 30 when current farm programs are scheduled to expire. Click here to read NACD’s review of the legislation and our outlook for its next steps.

On April 23, NACD joined a range of conservation, forestry and industry groups in writing to the Senate Agriculture Committee in support of James “Jim” Hubbard’s nomination as Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment, which will oversee the U.S. Forest Service under USDA’s reorganization plan. Hubbard is retired from the U.S. Forest Service, where he served as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, and previously served as state forester in Colorado. Click here to read the letter.

NCPP listening sessions continue in Minnesota and Texas

The National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) consisting of NACD, the National Association of State Conservation Agencies, the National Conservation District Employees Association, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils held two listening sessions in April to discuss and receive feedback on conservation planning.

NACD CEO Jeremy Peters traveled to Belton, Texas, on April 11, where an audience of 70 NRCS, district supervisors, field staff, state and national partnership leaders, along with additional online participants heard comments from conservation planners, landowners and operators, including several conservation district supervisors.

NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason presented at the Minnesota listening session held in Bloomington on April 18, where 45 participants, including district staff, were in attendance along with additional online participants. This session featured a producer panel – a time where landowners and operators could share their experiences with the conservation planning process and the assistance they receive from their local district office or NRCS service center.

Peters and Mason provided presentations regarding the results of the 2016 NCPP Field Staff and Producer surveys and how to assess the needs of field staff and producers. NCPP will be holding listening sessions in Washington state, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Wyoming in the coming months in order to develop and implement plans for strengthening and reinvigorating conservation planning.

Stewardship Week begins Sunday!

NACD’s 63rd Annual Stewardship Week starts Sunday! It’s not too late to download free “Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home” materials. Visit the NACD Marketplace to access free, downloadable educational materials on a range of topics. And don’t forget, Stewardship Week is a great time to complete your photo and poster contest submissions! You can find Stewardship Week graphics free for your district or state association to use by clicking here.

Next Friday, May 4, NACD will celebrate Stewardship Week at the opening day of the USDA’s Farmers Market on the National Mall! If your district has an activity planned for Stewardship Week, please email with the event details.

Honor a mentor or loved one with NACD’s Hall of Distinction

In 2016, NACD past president Clarence Durban became the first inductee to our Hall of Distinction for his contributions to the national conservation movement. As president of NACD from 1985 – 1988, Durban helped to secure NACD’s headquarters on Capitol Hill, along with tirelessly promoting the benefits of locally-led conservation.

On April 24, Durban’s daughter, Barbara Bruning and her husband Joe Jenkins visited the NACD offices her father made possible (pictured) and talked with CEO Jeremy Peters and Director of Projects and Partnerships Rich Duesterhaus about the history of NACD.

If you’d like to honor a past or present local conservation district official through NACD’s Hall of Distinction, the process is simple: contact your state or territory office and have them complete this online form. Click here to learn more about Hall of Distinction qualifications and application information.

Mississippi landowner empowers others

Vickie Roberts-Ratliff is using personal experiences as a sixth-generation Mississippi landowner to assist small property owners in Georgia’s Fulton and Cobb counties.

She serves as a program assistant for the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) and assists other property owners, specifically female and African-American landowners, in navigating processes and helping them understand the importance of having a forest and conservation activity management plans.

“Mississippi has the second highest percentage of landowners that are female and African-American,” Roberts-Ratliff said. “I want to do everything I can to help those landowners keep their land in family.”

Learn more about Roberts-Ratliff and her support of agroforestry practice implementation by clicking here. Make sure to subscribe to Forestry Notes to keep up-to-date with the latest forestry news and resources, as well as ideas for your district!

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