Nominate your conservation hero for an NACD award

Nominations for NACD’s Distinguished Service Award and Friend of Conservation Award will be accepted now through August 31, 2016. NACD awards are great opportunities for our members to give the top conservation leaders in the nation the recognition they deserve! You can nominate an individual, business, agency, or organization for their outstanding work and leadership in natural resources conservation. The winners of the awards will be featured in several NACD publications and asked to attend a special ceremony held in their honor at NACD’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, on January 31, 2017.

Nominations for the 2016 awards may be submitted by an individual, organization, agency, or conservation district. For nomination forms and more information, click here.

FAA finalizes rule on drones

Last week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its final rule on the use of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones. The agency’s new rule allows drones less than 55 pounds to be flown within the line of sight of certified operators. Most of the rule’s requirements can be waived if drone operators can ensure a certain level of safety. The process to apply for these waivers are forthcoming.

NACD supports the use of drones on private working lands to enhance conservation delivery and believes the FAA’s drone rule is a positive step in the right direction.

The potential for drones in precision agriculture is huge – but the possibilities for drones don’t stop there - they can be used for conservation, too. Drones can monitor invasive plants and animal species, assess the efficiency of irrigation systems, or identify vegetative cover on highly erodible land. In fact, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International recently released a report that found precision ag and conservation could account for 90 percent of civilian drone use by 2020.

Deadline for urban ag conservation grants fast approaching

NACD is accepting project proposals for the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative until midnight this Thursday, June 30. With NRCS support, the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group (RPG) developed a new Urban Agriculture Conservation grants initiative that puts a special emphasis on the implementation of agricultural conservation projects in underserved communities. NACD will provide a total of $1 million in funding to support technical staff in up to 20 conservation districts to help administer this program over the next year.

A formal request for proposals, a webinar recording, and a FAQ document on the initiative are available here. If you have additional questions, please contact NACD Northern Plains Representative Deb Bogar at

Farm bill survey submissions due soon

Every five years, Congress passes a farm bill that sets policy and funding levels for the conservation programs that are vital to the work of conservation districts. The current farm bill is expiring in 2018, but NACD is already working to make sure the next farm bill supports our district members.

That’s why we’re asking every one of the conservation districts we represent to fill out a survey on the farm bill. We ask that each district only complete one survey each, and that they do so with the input of their board members and staff. Survey responses are due by Friday, July 1.

Click here to fill out the survey and contact NACD Policy Specialist and Northeast Region Representative Katie Stump at with any questions. To those districts who have already completed the survey - thank you! NACD appreciates your input.

NACD participates in Field to Market session

NACD Communications Specialist Bill Berry participated in Field to Market’s Plenary and General Assembly June 21- 23 at McDonald's global headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. NACD, a member of the supply chain sustainability group, sits on two of Field to Market’s standing committees: the Verification Committee – which makes recommendations to leadership and oversees partnerships with third-party verifiers – and the Awards and Recognition Committee – which develops awards and recognition programs for Field to Market members and growers, and considers value-added strategies for accelerating grower adoption of sustainable practices.

Field to Market represents a diverse group – including grower organizations, agribusinesses, food and beverage retailers, conservation groups, and universities – focused on defining, measuring, and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber, and fuel production. Field to Market seeks to engage 20 percent of the acres in commodity crop production in the U.S. with its supply chain sustainability program by 2020.

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