Perdue is nominated to head USDA; Clovis to lead farm policy

Last Thursday, President Donald Trump nominated former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be the next Secretary of Agriculture. The announcement came after the longest search for an agriculture secretary in modern history, and completed Trump’s list of nominations for cabinet positions. Perdue, a member of the president-elect’s agricultural advisory team during the campaign, first met with Trump in November about the post.

Perdue, who grew up on a farm in Georgia, is a trained veterinarian, business man, and former two-term governor. No formal announcement has been made on when Perdue’s confirmation hearings will begin in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

In addition to Thursday’s announcement, Trump has announced Sam Clovis, the top farm policy advisor to his campaign, will lead the USDA transition. Clovis, a Trump surrogate, debated Clinton surrogate Kathleen Merrigan at a Washington, D.C., event in October. At the debate, Clovis expressed the need for the government to “incentivize” more conservation. NACD attended the debate and wrote a blog post – click here to read it in its entirety.

Soil Health Partnership hosts 3rd annual Soil Health Summit

NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason attended the 3rd annual Soil Health Summit hosted by the Soil Health Partnership in Des Moines, Iowa, last week. The goal of the collective is to provide a set of regionally specific, data driven recommendations that farmers can use to improve the productivity and sustainability of their farms.

The other half of their mission is to measure and communicate the economic and environmental benefits of different soil management strategies. At the meeting, the group unveiled a short video that does just that: Farmers to the Rescue: How Healthy Soil Can Save the Planet.

NACD Soil Health Champion Don Elsbernd (pictured here with Mason at the Summit) is from Allamakee Soil and Water Conservation District in Iowa. As a Soil Health Partnership research participant, Elsbernd says he’s received all the support he needed to start using cover crops.

Mississippi state association meets in Jackson for 72nd annual meeting

Over 300 conservationists attended the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts’ annual meeting last week in Jackson, Mississippi. The conference theme “We All Need Trees” was spotlighted on the front cover of the meeting’s two-day program, along with several submissions from NACD’s 2016 poster contest. The agenda included sessions on soil health, forestry, agrotourism, and conservation education; and Jim Harreld, NACD Southeast Region Executive Board member from Madison, Mississippi, spoke in the opening session.

Other meeting highlights included: a keynote delivered by Jeff Good, a local restaurateur, who encourages for farmers to supply neighborhood restaurants with locally grown food; and the Endowment Fund live auction. Proceeds from this year’s auction will help college students who major in agriculture or natural resources afford the cost of tuition.

Reminder: Want to know more about BLM’s new planning rule?

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the BLM regarding their new planning rule? You’ll have the opportunity to do so next week at NACD’s 2017 Annual Meeting.

NACD’s Public Lands RPG is asking districts and annual meeting attendees to send their questions on the BLM’s Planning 2.0 rule to NACD Government Affairs Associate Chris Heck by January 27. Your questions will be gathered and posed to BLM’s Acting Director Kristin Bail after she delivers a presentation on Saturday, January 28, during the Public Lands RPG meeting.

Don’t forget to make your voice heard: Help set NACD’s policy agenda for 2017

There is still time to submit your state report to NACD’s Natural Resources Policy Committee. NACD will use your state or territory’s feedback to create a policy work plan that reflects the national topics our membership would like NACD to focus on in 2017.

The deadline to submit feedback is Friday, January 27. You may access the survey here or on NACD’s website. If you have questions, contact NACD Government Affairs Associate Chris Heck.

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