NACD’s 73rd Annual Meeting begins Saturday! Registration opens Saturday, Feb. 2 at 12:00 p.m. in the Ballroom Foyer. Tickets for all events – including breakfasts, lunches, tours and Tuesday’s Appreciation Banquet – are still available. Drop by the registration desk to complete your purchase.

The 2019 Annual Meeting program is now available online – visit NACD’s website or open the NACD app to begin your preparations. Make sure to download NACD’s free app for access to annual meeting resources, as well as last minute room changes or updates.

On Monday morning, join us at the opening general session for a Texas welcome from the state’s deputy secretary of state, Jose A. “Joe” Esparza. Esparza was sworn in on Dec. 14, 2018, and previously served in the office of the Governor Greg Abbott. Esparza earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

During the week in San Antonio, NACD will welcome an impressive group of current college students as part of the 2019 Conservation Careers Workshop. Thanks to support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the selected participants will gain pertinent information about careers in conservation from seasoned professionals in natural resource conservation.

The 10 students hail from universities across the U.S. and will participate in an advanced, two-day training covering communications, field strategies, leadership and outreach. Their energy and enthusiasm will be excellent assets as they develop outreach programs for their own campuses. Learn more about the program and the selected 2019 Conservation Careers participants on the Workshop webpage.

While making preparations for your week in the Lone Star State, remember to pack a book! Pack natural resource, environmental or conservation-related books for your trip to San Antonio and drop them off in the Conservation Expo Hall when you arrive. For a wide selection of books with conservation themes, visit the NACD Pack-a-Book webpage.

If flying into San Antonio, the San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is eight miles away from the hotel. The hotel does not provide a shuttle service, but reservations can be made through Super Shuttle for $14 for a shared, one-way ride. Taxis and car share costs are estimated at $25 one-way. Self-parking at the Marriott Rivercenter is available at a 25 percent discount for meeting attendees.

NACD’s leadership and staff wishes you safe travels to San Antonio – we’ll see you soon!


On Jan. 23-24, 2019, the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) held their 74th Annual Meeting in Jackson.

For two days, soil and water conservation district commissioners, staff and partners shared their local conservation efforts and celebrated achievements. These stories included helping Leake County farmers put fallen timber to economic use growing sought-after mushrooms and the success of a DeSoto County elementary school garden as an interdisciplinary teaching tool.

Meeting participants heard informative sessions on Mississippi’s growing black bear population, chronic wasting disease in cervids, watershed dam safety and farm bill programs. NACD Southeast Region Representative Candice Abinanti shared an update on the programs, projects and resources NACD offers to conservation districts in a session that also highlighted the work of two partner organizations in Mississippi: the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited.

The meeting closed with a banquet and awards program. MACD President and NACD Alternate Board Member Pete Hunter received the Southeast Conservation District Employees Association 2018 Commissioner of the Year award. Hunter also presented NACD Board Member Gary Blair with the MACD President's Award. Together, Hunter and NACD Executive Board Member Jim Harreld welcomed new MACD President Jerry Smith (pictured) and handed him the gavel to close the meeting.


Last week, the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts (DACD) held their annual meeting in Dover, Del. NACD Northeast Region Representative and Policy Specialist Eric Hansen (pictured) presented on NACD’s ongoing grant opportunities and the recently passed 2018 Farm Bill. DACD meeting attendees heard partner updates, conducted their annual business meeting, and held a district supervisor training with National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) Executive Director Mike Brown.

Because of its location within the Chesapeake Bay, partners in Delaware have focused on using cost share programs to increase cover crop adoption. At the meeting, both NRCS and state officials discussed plans to better harmonize their respective programs.


Texas’ Red River County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has an experienced set of boots on the ground thanks to an NACD technical assistance grant.

In June 2018, Red River County SWCD hired Richard Donovan (pictured), a former Farm Service Agency (FSA) field and program technician with 35 years of experience in Red River County working with farmers and ranchers.

With hundreds of program contracts, Donovan is able to conduct spot checks to gather information for the needed enhancements from producers so they are able to receive payments in a more timely manner, and which allows other technicians to focus on other projects.

“We’re going out to the farm and determining if they’re carrying out the practices and enhancements they planned for,” Donovan said. “We make sure they aren’t overgrazing and if they’re spraying, that the land isn’t grown up in weeds or shrubs and brush.”

Donovan also does a lot of data entry and assists with Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts including staking ponds and measuring them when they are completed, as well as getting into the field to measure fences and do tree planting under the program contract.

Red River County SWCD has an agreement with neighboring counties to pool resources in some areas, so Donovan has also assisted landowners in Lamar and Delta County SWCDs with pond and terrace work. Read more about this technical assistance success story on NACD's blog.

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