NACD’s 73rd Annual Meeting begins next week in San Antonio, Texas. As you prepare, review the meeting agenda, speaker line-up and scheduled breakout sessions and conservation symposia.

NACD is pleased to announce NACD Soil Health Champion Jimmy Emmons of Dewey County, Okla., will join Tuesday morning’s soil health panel. Emmons owns and operates 2,000 acres in Leedey, Okla., with his wife, Ginger. The third-generation operation includes a rotation of wheat, canola, rye, sunflowers, peas, soybeans, milo, sesame and alfalfa, as well as a cow-calf operation. Emmons serves on the board of the Dewey County Conservation District and is the current president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts. Emmons will bring a producer’s perspective to the panel, which also features Soil Health Institute President and CEO Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, Soil Health Partnership Executive Director Dr. Shefali Mehta and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN Senior Director of Sustainability Jason Weller.

NACD is pleased to announce Eduardo Lopez de Casas will sing the national anthem during Monday morning’s general session. Lopez de Casas became the soloist for the “Singing Boys of Galveston” at just 10 years of age. Possessing a range of over four octaves, Lopez de Casas has performed in some of the world’s major musical venues and has appeared in orchestras and musical companies throughout North America and Europe.

NACD looks forward to another action-packed annual meeting. While making preparations for your week in the Lone Star State, remember to pack a book. The 2019 Annual Meeting will mark the 12th year running for NACD’s community outreach program “Pack-A-Book.” Through “Pack-A-Book” and the generosity of annual meeting attendees, NACD has donated more than 1,300 books to elementary schools located within our annual meetings’ host cities.

Be a part of this project by packing one or more natural resource, environmental or conservation-related book(s) for your trip to San Antonio. Simply drop them off at the Stewardship and Education Exhibit in the Conservation Expo Hall sometime during the 2019 Annual Meeting or contact for shipping instructions. For a wide selection of books with conservation themes, consult the Pack-A-Book webpage.

Don’t forget to download NACD’s free app! The app gives meeting-goers access to the annual meeting program, breakout session descriptions, speaker bios and more at a glance, last minute room changes and meeting updates.


On Jan. 15-16, the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) held the 2019 Soil Health Summit in St. Louis, Mo. The summit, which was titled “Rooted in Data, Growing Success” brought together representatives from farm groups, companies, government and non-government organizations for two days of discussions on soil health research, data, economics and practice adoption. NACD was represented at the meeting by NACD Soil Health Champion Dorn Cox from New Hampshire and CEO Jeremy Peters.

SHP Executive Director Dr. Shefali Mehta will participate in a soil health panel discussion at NACD’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio on Tuesday, Feb. 5 along with Soil Health Institute President and CEO Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN Senior Director of Sustainability Jason Weller and NACD Soil Health Champion Jimmy Emmons from Oklahoma.


South Carolina’s Barnwell Soil and Water Conservation District (BSWCD) has been able to dig in to a backlog of Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) applications with the help of an NACD technical assistance grant.

In 2018, when the district was awarded the grant, Bamberg and Barnwell counties had a backlog of more than 400 highly erodible land (HEL) determinations. Without the soil mapping and erodibility assessments, producers’ eligibility for EQIP was hampered.

“Almost 100 of the determinations in Bamberg County needed field visits to measure slope and slope length, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff was struggling to keep up,” BSWCD Administrative Assistant Tracey Morehead said. “We used the grant funds to hire Conservation Technician Sonja Hiers (pictured) in June and quickly put her to work assisting with the HEL determinations.”

Hiers teamed up with NRCS intern Jabril Wright to complete field visits and HEL determinations. Just before Wright’s internship ended in July, the area was struck with a period of continuous rainfall, making field assessments challenging.

“They still had a handful of determinations that needed field visits, though, so as soon as it looked like the rain was letting up, they headed back out into the field,” Morehead said. “They were able to complete most of the field visits they had scheduled for that day, but as they pulled into the second-to-last field, their efforts literally became a ‘stick in the mud.’”

The two drove to the top of a small rise to access a farmer’s field when at the top of the hill, the soft ground bogged them down. Eventually, the pair called upon local farmers to help.

“After some laughs and getting one of the farmers’ trucks stuck in the mud next to the NRCS truck, they were eventually able to get a tractor to come pull both trucks out,” Morehead said. “Their dedication and hard work led them to complete an enormous amount of work that has helped many producers maintain their EQIP eligibility.” Read more on NACD's Blog.

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