Summer meeting registration is open

Registration is now open for NACD’s 2018 Summer Conservation Forum and Tour and Southeast Region Meeting! Click here to begin planning your stay in Williamsburg, Va., Aug. 3-7.

The meeting will take place at the Williamsburg Lodge in historic downtown Williamsburg, which used to serve as the state's capital! Room rates start at $137 per night. To reserve your room, click here or call 1-800-261-9530 and say you’re with the 2018 NACD Summer Conference.

Your full registration includes your choice of one of four tour options organized by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD). Tour options include an agriculture track, an education and coastal topics track, an urban and forestry-themed track and a historical track. All four of these options include a provided lunch, but you’ll want to save your seat as soon as possible! Early registrations receive tour preference priority, and registrations completed after July 13 cannot be guaranteed a tour slot.

This week in Williamsburg will provide you with numerous education opportunities in a range of topics. From Monday’s Conservation Forum to breakout sessions to Tuesday’s tours, you’ll have a chance to learn about the deep history of the region as well as the unique natural resource concerns it faces. Click here to view the draft meeting agenda, and stay tuned to future editions of eResource for more updates!

Districts nationwide celebrate
Stewardship Week

Districts across the nation are celebrating the 63rd Annual Stewardship Week and its theme “Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home.”

Shavano Conservation District (SCD) in Montrose, Colo., provided 44 non-source pollution presentations using EnviroScape models to grades K-5 for 47 classes at eight elementary schools–a total of 852 students! SCD also will host a Natural Resource Festival for 600 fourth-graders from 11 local elementary schools.

On April 25, Pedernales SWCD in Texas hosted their 34th annual Soil Stewardship Breakfast on Whittington’s Mountain (pictured). In addition to an inspirational message and fellowship, attendees witnessed Blanco County Judge Brett Bray sign a proclamation announcing Stewardship Week. Additionally, the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD) celebrated the importance of pollinators.

In Guam, acting governor Ray Tenorio and Southern Guam Soil and Water Conservation District chair Benny Chargualaf planted an ifit tree at the governor’s complex. Tenorio also signed a proclamation declaring Guam Soil and Water Stewardship Week.

If your district is still planning activities, don’t forget to download free “Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home” materials. Visit the NACD Marketplace for supplies, including pens, erasers, drawstring bags, pencils, rulers and more! You can find free promotional Stewardship Week graphics by clicking here.

Noah Williams
Wasco, Oregon

Noah Williams and his wife, Tawnya live in Wasco, Ore., farming 2,800 acres of wheat in parts of both Wasco County and Sherman County.

In an area of the country where rainfall mainly occurs in the wintertime at a rate of approximately 10–14 inches annually, Williams has taken up the challenge of making cover crops work for his operation, building up the health of his soil. He acknowledges he is working against the general opinion that you can’t make cover crops work in a dryland wheat cropping system. But with the initial assistance of the Wasco Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and his local USDA NRCS office, he has been experimenting and analyzing the use of cover crops and other soil health practices.

In the spring of 2016, with a small grant from Wasco SWCD, Williams installed soil moisture sensors on two neighboring fields – one with cover crops and one without. From the data collected, he can see exactly how much moisture was utilized by the cover crop and determine the best time to terminate.

With the integration of this tool into his operation, Williams can make decisions and changes based on the data provided while gaining a better understanding of soil infiltration and other benefits of cover crops. Today, Williams continues his work with the local NRCS agent to collect and analyze this data.

“To me, it’s not about the short-term gain, but it’s about the long-term benefit. I know I’m not going to have an instant return. If it takes 10 years of cover crops so I can farm for 20 years longer without depleting my soils, that’s a benefit to me,” Williams said.

Williams and his journey with cover crops has been showcased in the USDA NRCS campaign “Unlock the Secrets in the Soils” through his USDA NRCS Profile in Soil Health as well as the companion YouTube video entitled, “Cover crops on dryland wheat? Challenge accepted.

To learn more about Williams and his operation in Oregon, be sure to visit his profile at the NACD website along with many other Soil Health Champions. If you or someone you know is interested in soil health and would like to become a member of this network, please contact NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason at or 317-946-4463 for more information.

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