SENATE PASSES 2018 FARM BILL
On Monday, Dec. 10, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders released the text of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report. Today, the Senate voted to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, 87-13, with a House vote anticipated by the end of this week.
“This is a great day for conservation on America’s private, working lands,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “NACD welcomes the continued investment in the Conservation Title and appreciates the consideration given to the overall conservation delivery system. With the continued effects of a recession in the farm economy, strong agriculture policy ensures a safety-net for America’s producers. We appreciate the members of the conference committee and their staffs for their commitment to bringing this important process one step closer to completion.”
In addition to maintaining funding for the Conservation Title, NACD is pleased this farm bill keeps the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) functioning as separate programs; allows more grazing opportunities and acreage to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP); makes reasonable reforms to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) without converting the program away from its intended function; and supports forestry management by promoting reductions of hazardous fuel loads to prevent wildfires.
“The best parts of both bills are reflected in this final product—including NACD’s primary legislative priorities,” NACD President-elect Tim Palmer said. “Successful implementation of on-the-ground conservation is made possible through conservation districts and the locally-led conservation model. Investing in conservation is an investment in the nation’s future, and this agreement continues to make that a priority. We are thankful our nation’s farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners can continue to execute sustainable practices with the support of this bipartisan legislation.”
A detailed analysis of what is in the agreement can be found on NACD’s Blog. Get engaged by visiting NACD's Grassroots Advocacy webpage.
NACD ANNUAL MEETING DEADLINES APPROACH
NACD's 73rd Annual Meeting, held Feb. 2-6, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas, is fast approaching. Haven't registered yet? This Friday, Dec. 14, is the last day to register under discounted, early-bird prices. Don't forget to register online to save an extra $15.
First time NACD meeting attendee? Thanks to the generous support of Agri Drain and Warner Ranch, NACD will be offering first-time meeting attendees complimentary meeting registration and a ticket to Tuesday night’s Appreciation Banquet. Only one person per state or territory may receive a scholarship, and chosen individuals must stay in the NACD room block at the Marriott Rivercenter.
First-timer scholarships are still available. Once a state or territory association selects a scholarship recipient in cooperation with their NACD board member, they should send the recipient’s name and email address to NACD Director of Membership Kimberly Uldricks by Friday, Dec. 14, to complete their registration. To submit a name for consideration, please contact your state or territory association.
Friday, Dec. 14, is also the deadline to donate auction items for the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting Live Auction. Popular items include farming equipment, gift certificates, all-inclusive trips, outdoor experiences or locally-made crafts or goods that represent your home state or region. Browse the current selection on NACD’s auction webpage. Donating is easier than ever - fill out this quick, online donation form by Friday, Dec. 14.
Looking for additional exposure opportunities for your business or organization? Consider participating in NACD’s Conservation Expo or becoming a sponsor of NACD’s Annual Meeting! The annual meeting gathers 1,000 conservation leaders including producers, landowners, district or agency employees and business owners. Maximize your organization's reach by supporting NACD’s 2019 Annual Meeting by Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.
RIVERSIDE-CORONA RESOURCE CONSERVATION DISTRICT
In 2016, NACD and NRCS awarded funding through the Urban Agriculture Conservation (UAC) Grant Initiative to Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District (RCRCD) in southern California. This funding came at the perfect time to help kick-start the local food movement in the region.
With the funds, RCRCD was able to build capacity and help create a local food and ag network, providing public outreach, publications, events and social media. The district was also able to support school and community gardens, including the Riverside Garden Council, with website and social media development to raise awareness of eating local.
The grant also enabled RCRCD to increase its outreach efforts in person by conducting irrigation system evaluations for growers. The district also provides tours and training in sustainable ag practices using the Land Use Learning Center (LLC), a three-acre demonstration garden with sustainable practices for agriculture, native habitats and urban areas.
The UAC grant allowed RCRCD to create a 36-page Fresh and Local Guide, filled with health, education and gardening resources. Around 30,000 copies of the guide were distributed, enabling the district to connect consumers to local producers, farmers to conservation resources and the community to food pantries.
RCRCD is now in the process of creating an updated edition of the Fresh and Local Guide, thanks to a variety of sponsorships and a grant from the California Department of Conservation. The district says funding has snowballed since receiving the NACD UAC grant. RCRCD is working to identify and fulfill gaps in funding for other district programs, including food systems, farmer and tree nursery training programs, urban greening and more.
Keep up with the district’s work at https://riversidefoodsystemsalliance.org/ and GrowRIV.com. Read a summary of RCRCD’s UAC project on NACD’s website.
CHESAPEAKE BAY FORUM UNITES CONSERVATION LEADERS
Last week, NACD Northeast Region Representative and Policy Specialist Eric Hansen joined agriculture stakeholders from across the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Lancaster, Pa., for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)’s 2018 All-Bay Agriculture Network Forum.
During several panels, tours and networking events, professionals shared their experiences putting conservation on the ground and improving water quality. Pictured is one of the tour stops, hosted by Jeff Frey of Future View Farm. Frey discussed his cover crop practices and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) easement with tour-goers.
At the event, NFWF announced their 2018 grantees in the Chesapeake Bay watershed – a total investment of $13.1 million. More information on NFWF’s work in the Chesapeake Bay is available on their website.
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