NACD puts on Summer Conservation Forum and Tour in partnership with CDI

After three days of business meetings, keynote speakers (pictured above is Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds), expert presentations, and a great deal of networking, about 300 attendees of NACD’s Summer Conservation Forum and Tour hit Iowa’s streets (and highways) today to tour conservation systems at work.

On the Soil Health Tour (pictured), attendees visited the Badger Creek Watershed project and learned how Madison Soil and Water Conservation District and its partners are controlling invasive species and sediment and nutrient loading into the Badger Creek Lake. They also toured urban conservation installations at a Polk Soil and Water Conservation District project in the Valley View Park, located in West Des Moines. At their final stop at Bruce Carney’s family farm, NACD and CDI leaders were joined by Future Farmers of America’s New Century Farmers conference attendees. Together, they heard from Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa NRCS about rotational grazing and cover crops in place at the Carney farm.

On the Water Quality Tour, Polk SWCD showed tourees how they are promoting urban water quality by using bioswales, native plantings, and rain gardens. At a farm owned and operated by the Iowa Chapter of the Land Improvement Contractors of America, they heard how a deep water crep, saturated buffers, and bioreactors are being used to control nutrient runoff and protect the local watershed.

A big thank you goes out to the Conservation Districts of Iowa (CDI) for sharing their state and SWCD membership with NACD this week! This summer meeting could not have been as successful as it was without the generous support and partnership of CDI.

International NCF-Envirothon competition kicks off next week!

Students from across the United States, Canada, and China will be coming together on Mount St. Mary University’s campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland, for the international NCF-Envirothon competition starting Sunday, July 23.

The first day of the event will include opening ceremonies and the ever-popular trading session. In addition to the training day, and the actual competition, the whole NCF-Envirothon delegation will take a day trip to Washington, D.C., and enjoy an awards ceremony on Friday, July 28 when the 2017 NCF-Envirothon national champions will be crowned.

Throughout the week, stay up-to-date on that is happening in Maryland by following the NCF-Envirothon Facebook page (NAEnvirothon), Twitter account (@NCFEnvirothon), Instagram page (ncf_envirothon), and Snapchat account (ncf_envirothon). We look forward to seeing everyone in Emmitsburg, Maryland, soon!

Federal appropriations update from NACD

Last week, the full House Appropriations Committee passed their USDA funding bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, which can now be sent to the full House for consideration. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment also passed their funding bill out of subcommittee last week, which provides $170.9 million for EPA’s Section 319 grant program. Earlier today, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture passed its FY 2018 spending bill for USDA.

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees appear to be moving in the right direction on the funding levels important to conservation districts. The House provided approximately $859 million for Conservation Operations, $760 million of which will go to Conservation Technical Assistance. Most importantly, the House bill does not reduce mandatory farm bill conservation programs as has happened in the past.

The Senate subcommittee’s ag appropriations bill includes $874 million for Conservation Operations account, almost $10 million more than Congress passed for FY 2017 and $108 million more than President Trump’s request. Additionally, the Senate provided $150 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program, the same level provided in FY 2017. However, NACD is disappointed by the Senate subcommittee's decision to reduce mandatory funding for EQIP and encourages the full Senate Appropriations Committee to reverse this choice.

The Marketplace now offers customization with NACD’s new logo

NACD’s Marketplace now gives customers the option of customizing their purchases – including wearables! – with NACD’s new blue and white logo. Districts, state associations, and affiliated partners have a wide selection of gifts, educational materials, signs, pins, and wearables to choose from in the Marketplace. Have you taken a look at our expanded selection lately?

We also posted a new step-by-step printing guide on the blog for those of you who would like to download and print NACD’s free stewardship and education booklets from the Marketplace. Click here to access those instructions, which were graciously provided to NACD by the Dewey County Conservation District in Oklahoma.

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