NACD celebrates successful Hill visits, conservation wins in Omnibus

Last Tuesday evening, 150 conservation district officials and partners gathered for the Spring Fly-In Congressional Reception to celebrate a successful day on Capitol Hill.

“[We] visited with our Congressional leaders to advocate for conservation farm bill programs and technical assistance support in local NRCS offices,” said Ian Cunningham, NACD Executive Board Member for the North Central Region.

During the reception, USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey addressed the group, saying, “We’ve got to stay relevant to producers out in the countryside. Our programs must be flexible to deal with the issues that I can’t begin to understand. All the situations that are represented here in this room are unique. Your area is different than the area that I grew up in, and I think we can all understand that the way things look on one side of the fence may be different for your farm. That’s why we need programs that are flexible and can function for different people and specific situations.”

Northey encouraged NACD Fly-In participants to reach out to his office. “Feel free to reach out to me and the folks at NRCS. We need to hear from you, that’s the only way we can make progress. Conservation looks different throughout the country, and we must work together to find solutions that make sense for every producer, region and landscape,” Northey said.

Following the Fly-In, Congress passed – and President Donald Trump signed into law – a Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. NACD was pleased to see language eliminating the SAM/DUNS regulations, as well as increased funding to the Conservation Operations program. Click here to read NACD’s press release on the omnibus bill. NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison also penned this blog, detailing the legislative riders included in the omnibus that support conservation efforts on a variety of landscapes. Click here to read NACD’s FY 2019 appropriations requests.

RSET webpage now live!

In response to rising consumer demand for sustainable food production, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) developed a comprehensive tool known as the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET). RSET compares a landowner’s operation and activities to science-based stewardship thresholds for five natural resource concerns: soil management, water quality, water quantity, air quality and wildlife habitat.

National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) Executive Director and farmer Mike Brown says, “RSET takes the ambiguity out of sustainability.”

NACD recently created a RSET webpage to assist producers and conservation districts with finding how they can utilize RSET. To learn more, visit NACD’s RSET webpage, which features resources, videos, testimonial and more.

Did you know that NACD is helping conservation districts and Native American tribes establish mutually-beneficial partnerships in putting conservation on the ground?

In 2017, NACD established a new Tribal Outreach and Partnership Resource Policy Group (RPG) under the Natural Resources Policy Committee with the mission to assist conservation districts in reaching out to tribes and building partnerships.

Read more about the Tribal RPG’s members, priorities and success stories on NACD’s blog.

Mark Your Calendars: April U&C Webinar

NACD’s next Urban and Community Conservation webinar, scheduled for April 19 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT, will focus on understanding and improving how soil is vital to every landscape.

NRCS soil scientists from New Jersey will discuss their use of XRF technology, an analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials, along with its value and its availability through the agency. King Conservation District from Washington state will share about their ‘hügelkultur initiative’, its value in urban areas, their awareness campaign and how it helped create new partnerships with compost providers and generated media stories.

These popular webinars, held on the third Thursday of each month, are sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in partnership with the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group. There is no cost to participate, but space is limited. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, email Debra Bogar at with your name, title, district or business name, state and email address. Information to access the webinar will be sent by email.

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