During the 73rd Annual Meeting Leadership Luncheon in San Antonio, Texas, NACD First Vice President Michael Crowder surprised outgoing District Operations and Member Services Chairman Wade Troutman with the announcement that he had been selected by Washington state to be inducted into NACD’s Hall of Distinction.

Troutman owns and operates Open Heart Ranch, his family’s fourth-generation farm, in Bridgeport, Wash., where he farms 6,600 acres of wheat and canola and utilizes conservation practices including no-till, spot spraying of weeds and other precision farming strategies. He has served on the Foster Creek Conservation District (CD) board of supervisors since 1982 and has served on the board, as national director and as president of the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD). Troutman served on the NACD Executive Board from 2017 – 2019 as the Pacific Region Representative and as chair of the District Operations and Member Services Committee during that time. He has also served as the Pacific Region Chair on the NACD Board of Directors and as the chair of the Natural Resources Policy Committee.

Troutman actively manages his farm to protect habitat for the sharp-tailed grouse, leaving more than 30 percent of his land in its natural condition to provide cover and food for the grouse and their young. In 1998, Troutman was involved in a process with Foster Creek CD that led to the historic signing of the Douglas County Multi Species General Conservation Plan. Foster Creek CD was the first district in the country to launch a habitat conservation plan for four species.

Learn more about Wade Troutman in his Hall of Distinction profile and visit NACD’s Hall of Distinction to learn more about Troutman’s fellow inductees.


Last week, NACD First Vice President Michael Crowder and Southeast Region Executive Board Member Gary Blair attended the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)’s 2019 Conservation Conference and Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

During the two-day conservation conference portion of the convention, Crowder presented on the water conservation track and Blair presented on the forest and land management track (pictured below). The convention was well attended, with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and many state and local agencies.

Meeting attendees included U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, NRCS Chief Matt Lohr, US Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and many more agency and conservation leaders. During NACD’s 2018 Summer Meeting in Williamsburg, Va., NACD and NWTF signed a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation with wildlife habitat and conservation issues. This convention allowed NACD a great opportunity to build new relationships and strengthen old ones to ultimately build partnerships and put conservation work on the ground.


After the Sebastian County Conservation District (SCCD) in Arkansas received funding through the NACD and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative in 2017, the district began projects at nine locations in two counties in the Arkansas River Valley, expanding partnerships along the way. The projects include community gardens, homeless shelter gardens, elementary school educational gardens, native pollinator plantings and urban meadow plantings. Each project site has been led and implemented by the community and volunteers with assistance from the district.

Beyond produce, the gardens at the shelters have provided a place for residents to work and learn skills they can apply in the future. The school gardens introduce fresh foods into classrooms where teachers have begun incorporating the gardens into their curriculum. The urban meadow installations benefit a part of the community without access to greenspaces, and the project plans to incorporate a seating area and redevelop a parking lot to provide recreation space for children.

To better promote the urban agriculture program in the community, SCCD staff conducted many programs with the local Master Gardeners, community organizations, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, churches and other civic groups. Programming focused on how homeowners can improve their environment by making simple landscaping choices to benefit water quality, wildlife habitat and native plant restorations. Although some attendees were initially intimidated about trying these techniques, after receiving training on strategies and resources for further learning and research, participants were much more enthusiastic about adding these features to their property.

The SCCD board has found further grant funding to extend its work, and the schools have secured funding to continue their gardens. Future projects will focus on rain garden installations, pollinator habitats and curricula at elementary schools, an urban food forest and possibly an expanded community garden in Fort Smith.

Support for this range of projects is provided by the County Chief Executive Officer, the incoming Fort Smith Mayor, First Presbyterian Church of Fort Smith, local Master Gardeners and other civic groups. The district is committed to continuing public awareness efforts through their relationships with legacy media and the district’s social media program, which includes a website, Facebook and extensive email list.


Last Wednesday, NACD Northeast Region Representative and Policy Specialist Eric Hansen attended the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts’ (MASCD) Winter Meeting. Hansen provided an update from NACD, highlighting the upcoming 2019 Technical Assistance Agreement deadline and providing an overview of the new 2018 Farm Bill. MASCD followed the meeting with their annual Legislative Day in Annapolis, hosting a luncheon and visiting legislators to talk about the work of soil conservation districts. NACD’s annual spring fly-in is less than a month away – find out more, including answers to some frequently asked questions and an event agenda, on NACD’s Fly-In webpage.

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