NACD announces availability of $9 million for conservation district work

Last week, NACD launched a webpage announcing the availability of $9 million in technical assistance grants for conservation districts. This funding will help conservation districts build their technical assistance capacity and thus enhance their ability to provide conservation planning and assist with conservation practice implementation.

NACD will administer these funds – provided by NRCS – to conservation districts in high priority locations across the nation. The highest priority locations will be identified by state/territory conservation partnerships based on the districts’ immediate conservation needs, EQIP workload, and staffing requirements given these workloads.

To learn more about this grant opportunity, please visit NACD’s webpage on Technical Assistance Grants to review the funding announcement, a briefer on the project, and list of FAQs.

Shall we save you a seat?

The 2018 NACD Annual Meeting in Nashville will feature EIGHT tours, two of which will be sponsored by the National Conservation District Employees Association.

The Songbird Bus Tour will be held from 10:00am to 12:30pm on Sunday, January 28.

For $82, you can join NCDEA on the road! Attendees will enjoy a two-hour live concert as they drive around Nashville touring the homes and studios of famous songwriters.

On the Music City Brewery Tour from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday, January 28, NCDEA will host an entertaining and educational trip exploring Nashville’s booming craft beer scene.

For $93, attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at local brewery operations and several free samples.

Policy updates from NACD

The BLM is currently accepting comments on its plan to amend some, all, or none of the greater sage-grouse BLM land-use plans that were amended in 2014 and 2015. States involved include California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Montana.

Over the next two weeks, the BLM is holding several scoping meetings across the West. Click here for meeting details. If your district would like to submit comments, comments can be submitted here.

In response to recent hurricanes as well as wildfires across the country, Congress has passed disaster relief legislation to provide over $18 billion to FEMA and about $575 million to supplement federal wildfire-suppression programs. Other funds in the package include nutrition assistance to areas of Puerto Rico still recovering from Hurricane Maria. Future disaster funding bills are expected in the coming weeks.

New Hampshire state association hosts annual meeting

Last week, NACD Secretary-Treasurer Kim LaFleur and Northeast Region Representative and Policy Specialist Eric Hansen joined conservationists from across New Hampshire at the NH Association of Conservation Districts’ annual meeting in Keene. Kim gave the NHACD Board an update on NACD’s recent activities while Eric presented on a panel about NACD federal policy and Farm Bill work. Building soil health and creating wildlife and pollinator habitat were key themes of the two-day meeting.

Don Elsbernd of Postville, Iowa

Don Elsbernd has been farming in northeast Iowa for over 35 years. Today, his operation includes mainly soybeans and corn, with a small amount of hay. Don has always considered himself a conservationist and has incorporated many conservation practices into his operation, including conservation buffers, contour farming, grassed waterways, and variable rate nutrient application. He’s a long-time no-till and strip-till farmer who over the past five years has been working to incorporate the use of cover crops into his operation. The challenge for Don has been establishing his cover crops within a relatively short growing season, but he’s finding success along the way.

Don is a local commissioner for the Allamakee County Soil and Water Conservation District and a member of the National Corn Growers Association and participant in its Soil Health Partnership. The USDA NRCS has also highlighted Don and his conservation efforts as part of their “Profiles in Soil Health” campaign.

To read more about Don Elsbernd, be sure to visit his Soil Health Champions Network profile on NACD’s website. If you or someone you know is interested in soil health and would like to become a member of this growing, progressive network, please contact NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason at or 317-946-4463 for more information.

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