Early bird registration for NACD and the Conservation Districts of Iowa’s (CDI) Summer Conservation Forum and Tour ends next Friday, June 16. Will we see you July 15 to 18 in Altoona, Iowa? We hope so! Reserve your spot at the early bird discounted rate on NACD’s website right now.

After Tuesday, June 20, the Prairie Meadows Hotel will no longer be offering rooms at NACD’s discounted rate of $107 per night during the summer meeting. You don’t want to miss out on the many amenities Prairie Meadows has to offer…

Have you ever been to an ostrich, camel, or zebra race? Us neither! But you’ll see us in the stands come 1:00pm on Sunday, July 16. The Prairie Meadows Hotel also offers free horse racing on Friday, July 14 (starting at 6:00pm) and on Saturday, July 15 (starting at 1:00pm). Live music is scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday nights too, and hotel guests have access to a casino and three restaurants on-site.

Registered meeting attendees will receive specific travel information and meeting logistics by email in the coming weeks. Have questions? Email


In the wake of President Trump’s FY18 budget request and Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s proposed plans to reorganize USDA, NACD has created this educational two-pager on the Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) program.

In addition to cutting many of USDA’s voluntary conservation programs and eliminating others, the president’s budget takes aim at the CTA program. Coupled with uncertainty surrounding USDA’s reorganization plans, NACD is concerned cuts to CTA would severely limit our collective ability to put conservation practices on the ground.

It is important for Congress to hear from conservation districts and their locally-elected leaders on the critical importance of CTA and the benefits of our locally-led conservation delivery system. Please read through the educational two-pager found at the top of NACD's Grassroots Advocacy webpage, and use the information you learn to communicate the benefits of CTA to your lawmakers and throughout your local communities. You are free to distribute and use this document for any purpose you see fit.

Didn’t receive this email, but wanted to? Sign-up for NACD grassroots alerts on our Grassroots Advocacy webpage.

Michael Heller of Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Soil Health Champion Michael Heller from Maryland has a background in sustainable agriculture. In 1982, Michael left his job teaching plant ecology at the University of Maryland to turn the then low-performing Clagett Farm into a living model for sustainable farming.

“The beauty of working on the farm here is that it directly benefits water quality in the Bay,” Heller said about the farm, which is owned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Building soil quality is probably the single most important thing to improving water quality.”

Michael’s first focus in his new post at Clagett Farm was to build soil health. He began with grazing cattle, even at a time when cattle prices were very poor, and started growing organic sweet potatoes, squash, and sweet corn to sell wholesale. In the following decades, Michael continued to make a difference in his community and the Bay through sustainable agriculture systems and projects, such as:

  • “From the Ground Up CSA” (“CSA” stands for community supported agriculture) that partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank to provide shareholders and low-income families with organically grown vegetables.
  • “Future Harvest CASA” (“CASA” stands for the Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture), which focuses on educating both farmers and consumers about what sustainability means and why it’s important.
  • “Maryland Grazer’s Network” that teaches producers how to increase profitability while improving the health of the Bay by grazing their livestock on pasture.

Michael also co-authored a cookbook – “The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up!” – that provides guidance on grilling, smoking, and barbecuing pasture-raised meats raised on small, American farms.

To read more about Michael and his operation, visit his profile online. If you or someone you know is interested in soil health and would like to become a member of this growing, progressive network, please read through the Soil Health Champions Network one-pager (that can be found on this webpage) and consider contacting NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason at to learn more.

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