NACD CEO visits with district leaders from Pennsylvania & Florida

NACD CEO Jeremy Peters highlighted NACD’s recent efforts to invigorate the conservation planning process and build technical capacity at two state conservation district associations’ annual meetings last week.

At both Pennsylvania’s and Florida’s annual meetings – on July 28 and July 30, respectively – Peters discussed NACD’s role in the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) and one of the many benefits of that partnership – NRCS Bootcamp Training, in which 36 district employees have now participated so far this year.

At the PACD meeting, Peters summarized President Lee McDaniel’s testimony before a House Agriculture subcommittee in May, which stressed the importance of voluntary solutions – especially in the face of regulatory pressure – when it comes to improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

Peters also put an emphasis on NACD’s Urban Agriculture Conservation Initiative, which recently awarded $2 million in grant funding for technical assistance to 42 conservation districts across 25 states. While at the AFCD meeting in Ocala, Fla., Peters had the opportunity to congratulate several of the districts selected to receive grants in person, including Florida’s Leon SWCD and Hillsborough SWCD (pictured with Peters above), and Georgia’s Flint River SWCD.

While in Florida, Peters also presented a certificate of recognition to NACD Soil Health Champion Burlin Findley of Jay, Fla., pictured at right. Findley’s Soil Health Champion Network profile is available on our website – click here to take a look!

NACD leaders and staff present at SWCS meeting in Louisville

NACD North Central Representative Beth Mason presented an update on the Conservation Partnership’s efforts to improve conservation planning during the 71st annual Soil and Water Conservation Society conference last week. Jack Majeres, longtime NACD leader and chair of the Moody County Conservation District in South Dakota, gave a testimonial during her presentation on the power of whole-farm conservation planning.

Mason (pictured on the far right) also manned NACD’s expo booth with Kentucky Soil Health Champions Jon Bednarski (far left) and Kevin Jeffries (middle), while NACD Communications Specialist Bill Berry participated in a water quality trading symposium.

During his presentation, Berry explained the project NACD and American Farmland Trust have in the works: a catalog of conservation districts’ lessons learned when it comes to participating in and/or administrating water quality trading and other environmental markets. Majeres participated in the symposium, which featured his district’s work on the Big Sioux River Watershed Project.

Berry also presented on NRCS’ Resource Stewardship Initiative (RSI) – a new method for land managers to gauge the effect of their stewardship practices – and on the tools NACD is developing to recognize the accomplishments of land managers who use RSI.

NACD lends expertise at Soil Health Institute’s inaugural annual meeting

NACD Past President and SHI Board Member Earl Garber headed to Louisville last week to help SHI develop its “Action Plan” during the organization’s inaugural meeting. NACD North Central Representative Beth Mason led the discussion in the Communications and Education work group, which is tasked with identifying key audiences, partners, potential strategies, and educational materials and resources for SHI.

Mason also spoke on behalf of NACD’s Soil Health Champions Network as a speaker on the conference’s soil health panel. Other panelists included Rob Myers, North Central SARE; Nick Goeser, National Corn Growers Association; Larry Clemens, The Nature Conservancy; and Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune, USDA NRCS Soil Health Division.

NACD President Lee McDaniel explains why conservation is a commodity

Last Thursday, President Lee McDaniel brought the voice of conservation to the 18th annual Maryland Commodity Classic. McDaniel, a Maryland-native, was one of four speakers to participate in a panel discussion on American agriculture. The other panelists – all of whom live in Maryland or Delaware – were Richard Wilkins, president of the American Soybean Association; Chip Councell, chairman of the U.S. Grains Council; and Jason Scott, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates.

Those in attendance heard firsthand how these panelists – their neighbors – are working to bring an understanding of agricultural and conservation issues from the national stage to the local level. Specifically, McDaniel spoke on the importance of NACD’s work on urban conservation, highlighting the association’s initiative to help urban districts increase their technical assistance capacity and strengthen the urban/rural coalition.

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