of Bill Northey
This afternoon, after months of delay, the U.S. Senate confirmed Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey as USDA’s Under Secretary for the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service (FFAS). Under USDA’s proposed reorganization, Northey’s role would ultimately transition to become Under Secretary of the Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area.
“Today’s vote was long overdue,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “Throughout his career, Mr. Northey has proven his commitment to agriculture and conservation by working alongside landowners to implement the conservation programs most vital to our nation’s producers. His extensive leadership experience in conservation and production agriculture has more than prepared him to lead this new mission area for the USDA.”
Northey is a fourth-generation farmer and former commissioner for the Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District. He has managed and directed natural resource management programs, set conservation priorities, and coordinated conservation efforts with other local units of government, state agencies and agricultural organizations.
Read NACD’s full press release on the confirmation by clicking here.
NACD attends Arkansas, Oklahoma annual meetings
In February, NACD’s South Central Region Representative Keith Owen attended annual meetings for Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) Annual Meeting, held mid-February, celebrated the theme “Remembering Our Roots for a Brighter Future.” The North Little Rock meeting featured sessions on source water protection, grazing management, water conservation and irrigation. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge spoke at the Conservation Awards Luncheon, and AACD screened the “Hugh Hammond Bennett: The Story of America’s Private Lands Conservation Movement” documentary.
The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City kicked off Saturday, celebrating the 80th anniversary of OACD and conservation districts in Oklahoma. Pictured from left to right: Jimmy Emmons, OACD president; Congressman Frank Lucas; Gary O'Neill, state conservationist; Trey Lam, executive director, Oklahoma Conservation Commission.
NACD Second Vice President Michael Crowder provided an update on behalf of the national association, including the recently released promotional videos. OACD’s meeting featured sessions on conservation planning, tribal outreach and partnership, opportunities for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, innovations in conservation, holistic management, soil health and beneficial arthropods.
Noble Research Institute Coalition Creating
New Voluntary Environmental Services Market
Last week, Noble Research Institute announced its intention to create a voluntary environmental services market to support efforts by agricultural producers to improve soil health.
In 2018, the program will develop an ecosystem services protocol and go-to-market business strategy to assess the technical needs of the program, and pilots will be conducted in early 2019.
The steering committee that created the marketplace consists of Noble Research Institute, General Mills, Soil Health Institute, Newtrient, NACD, Gordian Knot Strategies, DRD Associates, Strategic Conservation Solutions and Oklahoma and Texas farming/ranching communities. NACD President-elect Tim Palmer and NACD Soil Health Champion and Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts President Jimmy Emmons both serve on the committee.
NCPP Listening Sessions Start in Indiana
The National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) held its first of eight listening sessions on Friday, February 23 in Indianapolis, Ind., at the NRCS state office. Members of the NCPP leadership team gathered to hear how conservation planning and practice implementation have been promoted and implemented throughout the state, including the progress that has been made for cover crop adoption in recent years.
National representatives from the five conservation partnerships were in attendance – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA), National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA), National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils (NARCDC) and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). North Central Region Representative Beth Mason represented NACD and gave a presentation on the results from the NCPP Field Staff Survey conducted in 2016.
Participants had the opportunity to get an update on the NCPP initiative as well as ask questions and give comments to the national leadership as they move further in their efforts to reinvigorate and strengthen the conservation planning process. A list of questions, answers and comments will be made available to the partnership for participant distribution and review.
Future updates, information and opportunities to engage in the NCPP initiative can be found in upcoming issues of eResource as they become available.
Mark Your Calendars: NACD March 2018 U&C Webinar
The next NACD Urban and Community Conservation webinar, scheduled for 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST on March 15, will feature two green infrastructure management tools.
For the past two years, the Westmoreland Conservation District in Pennsylvania has been implementing a program to monitor locally-installed green infrastructure projects with "real-time" sensing technologies. The district currently has monitoring devices installed throughout the county in best management practices (BMPs) such as rain gardens, green roofs and permeable pavements. They are also currently developing an online-based dashboard to analyze and visualize the performance information for the various monitored BMPs.
The West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) created Rainwater Rewards, an online and mobile friendly stormwater calculator that shows the value of green infrastructure investments. The calculator helps municipalities, planners, developers and homeowners understand the investment value of green infrastructure beyond dollars and cents by looking at the value of reducing flood risk, water and air pollution reduction, increasing property value, CO2 storage and energy savings.
These popular webinars, held on the third Thursday of each month, are sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in partnership with the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group. There is no cost to participate, but space is limited. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, email Debra Bogar at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, title, district or business name, state and email address. Information to access the webinar will be sent by email.
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