NACD Government Affairs Update

On Friday, June 8, NACD and the National Conservation Partnership sent a letter to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, thanking the department for enabling the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with the authority to hire staff. Click here to read NACD’s press release.

Also on Friday, the Senate Agriculture Committee released the 2018 Farm Bill draft text. On June 12, NACD submitted a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leaders Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, applauding the committee members for their diligence in creating a bipartisan bill that maintains Conservation Title funding levels and suggesting improvements to the bill. Read the press release on the letter here. The bill is expected to be considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee tomorrow.

NACD Releases Report, Publishes Map of Urban Grant Recipients

In 2016, NACD partnered with NRCS to pilot conservation technical assistance for the vastly growing industry of urban agriculture. The two primary goals were to increase technical support for conservation aspects of urban agriculture and help address the needs of underserved populations.

NACD and NRCS awarded $2 million in funding to 42 conservation districts across 25 states. While the grant was for one year, proposals were required to show proof of project sustainability to ensure services would continue. Working through 2017, these funds enabled districts to provide a variety of services including community garden development and soils testing in specific neighborhoods, workshops and training, and/or awareness activities.

NACD published a comprehensive 93-page document describing each project, districts’ efforts to keep the programs operating and lessons learned. Visit the 2016 Urban Agriculture Grant Recipients webpage to view the report, as well as an interactive map of the projects.

Summer Meeting Deadlines Approach

Time is running out for you to complete your registration for the 2018 NACD Conservation Forum and Tour and Southeast Region Meeting! There’s only one month left to reserve your hotel room and register at discounted, early bird rates. Hotel reservations and online pre-registration close July 13!

And if you’re planning to attend one of our four tours – with agricultural, coastal and education, forestry and urban or historical themes – you must make your selection before July 13 to save your seat. You won’t want to miss out! Check out this video from some of our founding fathers on what Williamsburg has in store for you:

Spokane Conservation District, Washington

In 2016, NACD and NRCS awarded Spokane Conservation District in Washington with an urban agriculture conservation grant to assist with technical assistance. The project’s objectives were to connect local people and organizations active in urban food production and to encourage residents to apply water and soil conservation principles.

The new Spokane Urban Agriculture Network (SUAN) allows community members to communicate with each other on their projects and activities, resource needs and advocacy work to support urban food production. Groups involved include Project Hope/River City Youth Ops, The Edible Tree Project, Spokane Urban Goat Keepers, Catholic Charities Food for All Farm, Polly Judd Park Food Forest Project, Spokane Community Gardens and Bruce Rule Design.

The district formed the Spokane Community Gardens Association to help gardeners find resources, build successful communities, provide classes on gardening and community development, and advocate for broader community support. Over 65 existing community gardens have been engaged with help from the Washington State University (WSU) Spokane County Extension, the Spokane Associated Garden Club, and the Upper Columbia Resource Conservation and Development Council.

WSU Spokane County Extension offered continuing education classes to community members on a range of subjects including building rain barrels, goat and chicken keeping, pruning and grafting fruit trees, pollinator planting, basic gardening and more. Click here to learn more about Spokane Conservation District's project and lessons learned.

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