NACD ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP LUNCHEON SPEAKERS; SOIL HEALTH PANELIST
NACD’s 2019 Annual Meeting is quickly approaching – make sure to complete your registration before Friday, Dec. 14 to take advantage of early bird prices (and save an extra $15 by registering online). From Feb. 2-6, 2019, NACD’s 73rd Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, will offer tours, speakers, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, symposia and more focused on the nation’s natural resources and the work districts do to protect them.
On Monday, Feb. 4, NACD will welcome Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins as the keynote speakers for the 2019 Annual Meeting Leadership Luncheon. Forrest and Collins are the co-founders of the Austin, Texas-based meat snack brand EPIC Provisions. EPIC created the first 100 percent grass-fed bison meat bar and emphasizes regenerative agriculture practices to restore the land and preserve the welfare of its animals. The couple also manage a regenerative field laboratory outside of Austin, ROAM Ranch, and are working to reverse the landscape’s desertification and restore its soil.
NACD is also pleased to announce the addition of Jason Weller to the annual meeting’s speaker line-up. Weller is the senior director of sustainability for Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, created in 2016 to assist farmers and agricultural retailers in making on-farm conservation decisions. Weller, the former chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), will participate in Tuesday morning’s soil health panel during the general session alongside Soil Health Institute’s CEO and President Dr. Wayne Honeycutt and Soil Health Partnership’s Executive Director Dr. Shefali Mehta.
First time attending an NACD Annual Meeting? First-timer scholarships are still available thanks to meeting sponsors Agri Drain and Warner Ranch. To inquire about availability, please contact your state association office.
Time is running out to commit an item to the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting's Live Auction. The deadline to pledge items is Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Popular items include farming equipment, gift certificates, all-inclusive trips, outdoor experiences or locally-made crafts or goods that represent your home state or region. Complete the online donation form by Nov. 30 to ensure contributions are included on NACD's auction webpage and promotional materials. NACD's Live Auction, featuring crowd-favorite auctioneer Johnny Regula, will be held the evening of Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.
NACD ATTENDS STATE, NATIONAL MEETINGS
Over the last week, NACD officers and staff traveled across the country to represent the national association and provide programming updates at state annual meetings and other national stakeholder meetings. On Nov. 12, NACD President Brent Van Dyke addressed the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting in Auburn, Ala., and the Nevada Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting in Elko, Nev., from Nov. 13-14. President-elect Tim Palmer attended the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif., from Nov. 14-16 before flying to Bismarck, N.D., for the North Dakota Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting held Nov. 18-20.
Secretary-Treasurer Kim LaFleur and Western Issues Specialist Jeff Burwell spoke to attendees of the Idaho Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting in Post Falls, Idaho, held Nov. 13-16. Immediate Past President Lee McDaniel traveled to Kansas City, Mo., for the Farmer Veteran Coalition Conference, held Nov. 15-17, where he and Spokane Conservation District Director Vicki Carter (pictured above) spoke to attendees about engaging veterans with conservation districts nationwide.
From Nov. 13-15, NACD CEO Jeremy Peters, Director of Development Laura Demmel and Northern Plains Region Representative Sunni Heikes-Knapton attended the Field to Market Annual Meeting and the Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Denver, Colo. The NACD team engaged in strategic discussions to further continuous improvement in agricultural production based on the FieldPrint Platform. This approach affirms the value of the work being done by local conservation districts in promoting stewardship practices at the local level, and NACD looks forward to seeing this work expand.
NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison attended the annual meeting of the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts held Nov. 14-16 in Evanston, Wyo. Garrison provided an update on the 2018 Farm Bill and highlighted NACD’s programs, including the technical assistance grant program and conservation planning boot camp. NRCS Deputy Chief for Programs Jimmy Bramblett addressed meeting-goers and discussed conservation planning and NRCS’ role in farm bill implementation.
NACD ACCEPTING DISTRICT OFFICIAL TRAINING PROGRAM RECOGNITION APPLICATIONS
NACD recognizes states that have developed and implemented a statewide district official training program through the national association’s District Official Training Program Recognition (indicated in blue in the map below).
States that meet program requirements will be recognized during the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Visit the District Official Training Program Recognition webpage for more information on how to apply. Applications may now be submitted online – submissions must be received by Dec. 1, 2018, to be recognized at the 2019 Annual Meeting in February. Please contact NACD Director of Membership Kimberly Uldricks with questions or to submit your state’s training materials.
For states recognized previously, please take a moment to visit the website and resubmit your state’s checklist or updated training materials. NACD is looking for additional feedback on any new training elements added to district official training programs, as well as feedback on how, when and to whom trainings are administered.
SOIL HEALTH INSTITUTE DEBUTS DOCUMENTARY ON SOIL HEALTH MOVEMENT
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) released a 60-minute soil health documentary that is now available online. The documentary explores soil and its journey through generations of degradation until today as innovative farmers and soil health experts are facing the challenge head-on to rebuild our nation’s soil.
This film features both rural and urban producers from across the country, varying in size and production, united in their care for the soil. NACD Soil Health Champions Brian and Keith Berns of Nebraska were interviewed for the documentary. The Berns explain the concept of soil biology and how farmers can manage their land to positively impact their soil’s health and simultaneously increase their yields.
Visit livingsoilfilm.com to stream the film online. On Dec. 5, World Soil Day, SHI will follow up the release of this film with accompanying lesson plans for both high school and college students.
DISTRICTS FACILITATE FOREST SUCCESSION PLANNING
More than half of the nation’s forestland is privately owned, but in the coming decades these acres will transition to a new generation of forest landowners, many of whom do not have the same connection with the land that their parents and grandparents have enjoyed. Will they accept the need to manage their woodlands? Will they see the value the forest provides?
According to recent data, “80 percent of family forest landowners want their land to stay intact and remain in the family. They have no intention or desire to sell their property.” Yet, only a small percentage of families invest the time to talk about how to transfer ownership and maintain forest health for future benefits. This leaves our forests vulnerable to fragmentation and ultimately to a change in land use.
There is important information to pass down, like understanding timber tax laws, conservation easement options, the value of having a forest management plan, available cost-share programs, and knowing local forestry professionals who can help with management. Perhaps most importantly, there is a need to share the benefits a forest provides, not only for the family but for the communities and wildlife that rely on it.
Forest succession planning involves a series of steps, often facilitated by a qualified professional armed with resources to address each step in the process. The most important step is the first step - initiating the conversation.
Read more on NACD's blog about how conservation districts in Oregon, New Hampshire, Michigan, Virginia and Pennsylvania approach succession planning. There, you'll also find a blog entitled "10 Steps to Succession Planning" to help you and your district create a plan to move forward.
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