MUCH-ANTICIPATED CONSERVATION DISTRICTS VIDEO
Over the past several months, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) has worked to create the "Past, Present and Future of Conservation Districts," a video showcasing the history and unique journey of the conservation movement. This 10-minute video provides a brief overview of conservation districts and the services they have and will continue to provide to America’s landowners. While this video could only scratch the surface of the incredible work the nation’s conservation districts do, it serves as an introduction to the philosophy behind the nation’s conservationists and can be used as an educational tool for the locally-led mission.
The video is available on NACD's YouTube channel and on NACD's promotional videos webpage. NACD members may download the video to play offline through the Members Only webpage.
2018 ANNUAL REPORT
Today, NACD released the organization’s 2018 Annual Report.
The report encompasses a recap of all of NACD’s events and successes over the past year. This edition includes a farewell address from NACD Immediate Past President Brent Van Dyke in addition to outlooks for the year ahead provided by President Tim Palmer and CEO Jeremy Peters.
In addition to membership details and financial statements, this year’s annual report contains a Boots on the Ground section that showcases all of the unique programs and initiatives NACD implemented in 2018 to serve districts and promote locally-led conservation across the country. The report also incorporates highlights from each region as well as a bio and outlook from each region representative. Lastly, readers will find an NACD in Action section for an at-a-glance perspective on NACD’s successes and the ways the organization is improving the conservation delivery system.
Read the latest edition by clicking the photo above or browse past editions on our website. If you have any questions or comments about this year’s report, or ideas for the spring edition of The Resource, please let us know. All conservation districts, state and territory associations and Friends of NACD will receive a printed, bound copy of the 2018 Annual Report in the coming weeks.
SOUTH CAROLINA, OKLAHOMA ANNUAL MEETINGS
On Feb. 26-27, nearly 200 commissioners, district employees and partners gathered in Columbia, S.C., for the 78th Annual South Carolina Conservation Partnership Conference.
NACD Secretary-Treasurer Ian Cunningham (pictured) and NACD Southeast Region Chair Franklin Williams presented during the meeting's first general session. Cunningham provided participants with an overview of the 2018 Farm Bill, and Williams shared how he became a conservation leader in his own district, state and nationally. Anna Fisher, a recent graduate from Clemson University with a degree in horticulture, spoke about NACD’s Conservation Careers Workshop – a professional development program hosted at the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting – and its value connecting her with people working in the field she studied.
Over the two days, conference participants learned how to strengthen their district boards, and engaged in topics ranging from watershed districts to dam safety, 319 grants and a solar farm pollinator project. Attendees also learned about the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a citizen science network of volunteers who measure and map precipitation.
From Feb. 24-26, the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) held its 2019 annual meeting. Ray Ledgerwood of Board Works in Pullman, Wash., presented to meeting attendees on topics including “Power Up Your Conservation District," "Being the Best District Board Ever" and "Long Term Planning for Conservation Districts." NACD South Central Region Representative Keith Owen presented a session entitled "Marketing Your Conservation District... Effectively," and meeting attendees also watched video presentations from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Bill Northey and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Matt Lohr.
NACD President Tim Palmer and OACD President Jimmy Emmons presented the OACD Conservation Hall of Fame Award to Creede Speake, district director of Carter County Conservation District (pictured). Speake has served conservation in the state for 69 years and also received the 2018 NACD Distinguished Service Award.
NACD ATTENDS THE 2019 COMMODITY CLASSIC
Last week, NACD exhibited at the 2019 Commodity Classic in Orlando, Fla., the country’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and tradeshow. NACD’s primary message for attendees was sharing the results of the NACD Soil Health Case Studies on Cover Crops, the incorporation of soil health practices on farming operations, and making sure attendees knew how to connect with their local conservation district and the services they provide in communities across the country.
Over this three-day event, NACD was represented by NACD Soil Health Champions Burlin Findley of Florida and Annie Dee of Alabama, President Tim Palmer, Director of Development Laura Demmel and North Central Region Representative Beth Mason. Palmer, Findley and Dee provided an especially unique message to attendees by sharing a perspective for soil health and conservation on the farmer-to-farmer level, which in many cases “holds more water.”
Local conservation board members, NACD Soil Health Champions, and other conservation family members stopped by the booth to chat and lend support for conservation districts and NACD.
While at the Commodity Classic, Demmel and Mason also participated in a dinner for the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Technology Institute, providing an opportunity to engage with college-aged students on careers in conservation.
Plans are already underway for attending the 2020 Commodity Classic which will be held in San Antonio, Texas, to build on the relationships, connections and contacts made at this year’s event.
As a fifth-generation farmer, Robby Bevis never pictured himself as anything else. Bevis farms 3,000 acres of soybeans, corn and rice in Lonoke County, Ark. While his operation has been mostly no-till, he hadn’t experimented with cover crops until 2012, when some of Bevis’ college friends who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) talked him into giving it a try. They shared the benefits he’d soon see in his soil biology and how he could increase his soil health.
When first incorporating cover crops into his operation, Bevis started small by just planting 900 acres. The transformation of his fields created such excitement that he couldn’t wait to take things to the next level and expanded the covers up to 2,700 acres by 2017.
Bevis noticed the combination of no-till and cover crops left his field looking “ugly”—meaning he no longer had nice clean rows or clear corn stands. This had always been something a typical farmer looked for in a well-managed field, but Bevis learned to change his frame of mind where that was concerned.
Through adding cover crops, Bevis has discovered tangible benefits. His irrigation costs have decreased as well as his fertilizer usage, all while maintaining his yields. Weed management is still a struggle, but cover crops have made a huge difference. His time is also spent differently. While he might not be in the tractor as much, he is now walking his fields more and letting the plants tell him what is needed rather than automatically doing certain things.
Bevis has found other like-minded farmers with the same passion for soil health, and together, they formed the Arkansas Soil Health Alliance. The sole purpose of this farmer-led non-profit organization is to share with other farmers the importance of soil health practices in their operations, demonstrate how they can see similar benefits, and provide a community of support along the way.
For more information on Robby Bevis and his operation, visit his profile on the NACD website. If you or someone you know would like to become a member of the NACD Soil Health Champions Network, please contact NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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