Don’t forget to Pack-A-Book!

NACD’s upcoming Annual Meeting in Nashville – January 27 – 31, 2018 – will mark the eleventh year running for the community outreach program “Pack-A-Book.” Through your generosity, NACD’s Pack-A-Book has put more than 1,000 conservation-themed books in the hands of elementary students. The 2018 recipient of Pack-A-Book proceeds will be Dodson Branch School in Jackson County, Tennessee, home to 290 students grades K-8.

You can be a part of this project by packing one or more natural resource, environmental, or conservation-related book(s) for your trip to Nashville. Simply drop them off at the Stewardship and Education Exhibit in the Conservation Expo Hall sometime during the 2018 Annual Meeting, or contact for shipping instructions. A label with your name and conservation district affiliation will be placed in the inside cover of each book you donate.

NACD releases 2018 Farm Bill requests

Over the past year and a half, NACD’s Farm Bill Task Force, currently chaired by NACD First Vice President Tim Palmer, has worked to create a set of policy requests for the 2018 Farm Bill.

Starting with a survey of our members last summer, the Task Force created a set of principles that helped to guide the formulation of NACD’s 2018 Farm Bill requests. NACD’s Government Affairs Team will now be taking these requests to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees and other members of Congress, detailing the policies and funding levels NACD supports for the next 2018 Farm Bill.

As we move forward, we would encourage you to contact your members of Congress directly so that they may hear from you – their constituents – who work to put conservation on the ground through farm bill programs regularly. If you have questions or need more information, please contact NACD’s Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison at

NACD Southwest-Pacific meeting brings hundreds to Arizona

The Arizona Association of Conservation Districts hosted the joint Southwest and Pacific Regions meeting in Tucson, Arizona, last week for over 230 conservation district board members and district employee attendees. The meeting included presentations on successful partnerships and projects from Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, plus a talk given by Sadie Lister, member of the NACD’s Tribal Outreach and Partnership Resource Policy Group (TOP RPG), and Michael Crowder, NACD’s second vice president and TOP RPG chairman, on the RPG’s efforts to increase access to technical assistance for historically underserved landowners.

Callie Hendrickson, a member of the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition, informed the group about feral horse impacts on landscape-scale conservation efforts in Western states and provided action items for districts to take back to their legislators. Kit Tillotson of Idaho and Wendell Stembridge of Utah were reelected NACD region chairs for the Pacific and Southwest Regions, respectively.

The joint meeting also included a tour where attendees like Travis Thomason, NRCS Pacific Islands Area Director (pictured on the left above), and Roland Quitugua, the NACD board member representing Guam (on the right) learned how the 55,000-acre King Ranch on the Mexican border with Arizona is managing soil erosion, grazing systems, and refuse.

Next year’s Southwest-Pacific Regions meeting will be held in Washington state and feature a tour of Michael Crowder’s farm. Stay tuned to NACD’s website for more details.

In memoriam: Past NACD president Bud Mekelburg

Milton "Bud" Ernest Mekelburg, NACD’s president from 1982 to 1984, passed away on September 14 at the age of 82. In the late 1950s, Bud helped build the Yuma Soil Conservation District in Colorado, later taking on leadership roles with the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, and ultimately NACD. Bud was also the recipient of NACD’s 2007 Distinguished Service Award.

He enjoyed traveling all over the U.S. during his tenure with NACD, meeting farmers to see what methods they were using to conserve soil and water and discovering how he might better serve their needs, as well as their districts’. Bud maintained great interest in his home conservation district throughout his life and particularly enjoyed seeing terraces, windbreaks, and other soil conservation practices installed on neighbors’ fields. He practiced many of the soil conservation ideas on his own farm as well, including terraces, stubble mulch, and wildlife habitat enhancements.

NACD and the whole conservation family sends its condolences to Bud’s family and friends. For information regarding Bud’s memorial service, please visit the Baucke Funeral Home’s website.

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