After the Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill last Tuesday, the House quickly followed suit on Wednesday and passed the final agreement with a 386-47 vote. NACD is pleased the 2018 Farm Bill passed by such a large margin – showing great support for the conservation policies included the agreement. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law later this week.

Last Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new proposed rule clarifying a “water of the United States” (WOTUS) definition to replace the 2015 rule. NACD had concerns with the 2015 rule due to its expansion of federal jurisdiction at the expense of more state or local control over natural resource protection. NACD is encouraged the EPA started this new process with the goals of limiting federal jurisdiction and providing clarity for landowners. NACD looks forward to the opportunity to publicly comment on the rule to make further improvements. Read NACD’s statement on the proposed rule in NACD’s Newsroom.

NACD also continues to closely monitor the status federal funding for departments such as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), which expire this Friday. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass a new funding bill—preferably through the end of the current fiscal year. Stay tuned for further updates as this process moves forward.


Due to popular demand, NACD has extended discounted, early bird registration rates for the 2019 Annual Meeting until this Friday, Dec. 21. Haven’t registered yet? Register online to save an extra $15.

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 to complete their registration. To submit a name for consideration, please contact your state or territory association.

The 73rd NACD Annual Meeting, held Feb. 2-6, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas, will have something for everyone. This week, NACD announced an urban agriculture conservation panel will be held during the Tuesday morning General Session. The panel will be preceded by the soil health panel and will be moderated by National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) President Lorrie Boyer.

The urban agriculture conservation panel will feature Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association President Andrew Smiley, Prince George’s SCD District Manager Steven Darcey, and Abiodun Henderson, founder and executive director of the Come Up Project (pictured).

The Atlanta-based start-up the Come Up Project helps former offenders and at risk youth learn holistic life skills. The Come Up Project has created its first entrepreneurial business training program called Gangstas to Growers, which produces a hot sauce, “Sweet Sol”, made in cooperation with farmers of the South West Atlanta Growers (SWAG) Cooperative and West Georgia’s Farmer’s Cooperative.

Henderson has served as a community organizer in Westside Atlanta for over four years and has experience in running grassroots farming programs, empowering those living in traditionally underserved communities. Under her leadership as garden coordinator, the Westview Community Garden is now community-owned. Besides working to reduce recidivism in Westside Atlanta by employing at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated individuals, Henderson is a member of SWAG Cooperative, which aims to create a transformative, environmentally and culturally responsible Atlanta food system that contributes to a robust quality of life for its farmers and community.


On Dec. 17, former NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan was recognized at USDA headquarters for his 42 years of service to USDA and to the millions of cooperating landowners served by NRCS throughout his career. Speakers on hand to recognize Jordan's career included USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Under Secretary Bill Northey, NRCS Chief Matt Lohr and many other USDA officials. Partnership leaders also in attendance included representatives from NACD and the National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA). Pictured above from left to right is NACD CEO Jeremy Peters, NASCA Executive Director Mike Brown, Leonard Jordan, NASCA President Cindy Lair and NRCS Regional Conservationist - West Astor Boozer. Jordan officially retires from USDA in January 2019.


While many conservation districts are using NACD technical assistance (TA) grant funding to grow capacity in the field, Oregon’s Umatilla County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is utilizing TA funding to help behind the scenes.

In April, Tiffany Schademan was hired as a full-time administrative assistant to support the SWCD and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices.

“With NRCS’ current capacity, our huge service area and the amount of workload we have, a lot of our day to day is doing (field) work and getting done what needs to get done,” Umatilla County SWCD District Manager Kyle Waggoner said. “Having additional support has greatly freed up staff to do more technical and large-scale planning work.”

Schademan has already made significant strides in re-organizing the field office files. She is helping producers with record-keeping and file management, which has greatly assisted Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contract participants and NRCS staff. Schademan is also bringing the SWCD into the 21st century by updating the website and social media pages and assisting with digital outreach and program information distribution. Lastly, the position has provided a face for the public to interact with when customers visit the office. Read more on NACD’s blog.


On Dec. 11-13, NACD participated in the North Central Region One Water Action Forum, held in Indianapolis, Ind. Coordinated by the Iowa Soybean Association, North Central Region Water Network, the Soil and Water Conservation Society and the U.S. Water Alliance, researchers, educators, practitioners, policy-makers and other stakeholders throughout the Midwest, the forum focused on advancing more connected and cohesive approaches to water and watershed management.

Pictured at the NACD display is NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason and Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Executive Director Clare Lindahl.

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