By Gene Schmidt, NACD Past President

The National Conservation Foundation has been in operation for over 20 years, thanks to some forward thinking leadership on the part of NACD. Supporters of NACD utilize the National Conservation Foundation to underscore the tremendous work the association does on Capitol Hill and beyond for locally-led, voluntary conservation programs… (Read more on NCF and its plans to dramatically expand support for conservation here on NACD’s blog)

In 2014, NCF assumed oversight of the International Envirothon Competition – an educational program that teaches high school students valuable technical and leadership skills. In an effort to advance conservation education and develop an even larger pool of future conservation leaders, NCF is accelerating its efforts to expand the environmental competition’s sponsorship opportunities… (Read the rest of this month’s Did You Know? by clicking here)

Did you know that any individual, state, agency, or district can write a “Did You Know” article? The last Tuesday of each month, “Did You Know” is featured on NACD’s blog and in eResource. If you have comments or questions on this month’s, or suggestions for future editions, contact NACD Southeast Representative Phylis Vandevere.

The 2017 Conservation Expo set to wow meeting attendees

Meet the innovators, service providers, and others at the 2017 Conservation Expo! Held in conjunction with the NACD Annual Meeting, the Conservation Expo is an opportunity for meeting attendees to learn about the latest and greatest in conservation practices, services, and products from leading organizations, companies, and agencies. The Expo will also include the NACD Auxiliary’s Country Store, a Pack-A-Book donation drop-off for North Elementary, and the Share Fair.

A new feature to NACD’s expo – the Conservation Expo stage – is set to debut in Denver. Throughout the meeting, the stage will feature short presentations from districts, companies, and others as a part of the Share Fair. You don’t want to miss these power talks!

Are you interested in presenting at the Denver expo? Or naming rights to the stage? Contact Melisa Augusto, NACD director of development, or visit our website today!

ACEP final rule emphasizes conservation planning

NACD put out a press release last week praising NRCS’ submission of its final rule on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). One of the most significant changes this final rule makes to ACEP is requiring participants to obtain an Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) plan. To complete these plans, individual landowners will need to think proactively about conservation – an approach NACD strongly supports.

“The 3,000 districts NACD represents constitute the largest delivery system for voluntary conservation in this country,” NACD President Lee McDaniel said. “Our member districts stand ready to assist landowners with the design and implementation of these ALE plans.”

NACD weighs in on proposed estate tax rule

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released a proposed rule called the “Estate, Gift, and Generation-skipping Transfer Taxes: Restrictions on Liquidation of an Interest.” NACD has serious concerns with the new regulations as written and have urged the IRS to withdraw its proposal. Specifically, the proposed regulations would:

-Reduce the money farms have available to invest in on-farm conservation practices;

-Compromise the ability of family farms to remain intact after intergenerational transfer; and

-Change the rules and policies that families have known, used, and based their planning decisions on.

NACD submitted comments on the proposed rule in mid-October. Visit our Newsroom to read those comments in full.

Texas’ association of SWCDs holds annual meeting, presents President’s Award

Last week the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts presented Wilson Scaling with the 2016 President’s Award at the organization’s annual meeting. The President’s Award is given to an individual who has gone above and beyond in their service and support of conservation in Texas.

Scaling served as the chief of NRCS (then called the Soil Conservation Service) from 1985 to 1990 under then Agriculture Secretary John R. Block. After this tenure in Washington, D.C., Scaling returned to his family’s ranch, which has used the same brand with the same breed of cattle for over 100 years. He has also served on the Little Wichita Soil and Water Conservation Board since 1973.

NACD South Central Representative Tamara Daniel attended the meeting where a Texas Soil Health Symposium also took place. ATSWCD, along with a number of local conservation districts, will be sponsoring a meeting in Wichita Falls from February 22 – 23, 2017, that will feature soil health experts from Texas and Oklahoma and several NACD Soil Health Champions. Save the dates now and watch for registration information soon!

Pictured above are members of the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ Board of Directors honoring Wilson Scaling with the 2016 President’s Award. Pictured from left to right are David Basinger, Jule Richmond, Wilson Scaling, Rickey James, Volney Hough, and Vicki Riser.

NACD's full staff meets in Oklahoma 

NACD staff stationed in Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Washington, D.C., gathered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on Sunday to develop advocacy strategies for voluntary conservation delivery.

Thanks again to the Noble Foundation, home to the Soil Health Institute, for graciously hosting the NACD team!

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