NACD Soil Health Champions Network BRIEF Survey
To help us better know the basics about each of you, NACD has created a brief survey we'd like you to complete for us.
We know that one-size-doesn’t-fit-all. That’s the beauty of the Network! It gives individual producers the chance to find what they have in common with others across the nation, and to learn from one another’s experiences.
To make finding commonalities between you and your fellow soil champs a whole lot easier, we’re
asking you to answer a few, quick questions about your operation. By providing some additional information, you’ll be helping us connect you with other soil champs who have similar operations, climate, soil types, and conservation objectives.
To thank you for completing this survey, NACD will enter your name in a drawing for 10 limitededition, ceramic NACD coffee mugs. Already, NACD has finished one drawing and the following soil champs will be receiving mugs (and a custom outreach tool, too!):
Congratulations and thanks to our first round of winners!
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) will be holding its 10th Annual Conservation in Action Tour in West Lafayette, Indiana, September 5 - 6. This national event will showcase the progress conservation farming has made over the last decade – new systems, new partnerships, and a new understanding of the benefits of healthy soils and healthy farms. The tour will also explore premium market opportunities that extend the benefits of conservation from the farm through the entire supply chain. In addition, the tour will explore watershed projects, engage agricultural retailers and agribusinesses, and learn how Indiana’s agencies and farm organizations work in partnership, building bridges to the future.
For more information on this tour, please visit CTIC’s website.
RSET: The Future in Conservation Planning
Earlier this month, NACD introduced you to NRCS’ Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET) in a Special Bulletin to the Network. Through RSET, NRCS has integrated the best attributes of many of its resource evaluation tools into one modern way of planning.
RSET gives producers a holistic look at their agricultural operation’s current management and conservation activities by comparing an operation’s attributes and activities to stewardship benchmarks for five natural resource concerns: soil management, water quality, water quantity, air quality, and wildlife habitat. Then, RSET provides the results of the evaluation in an easy-to-read bar graph that shows how a producer’s management decisions affect the natural resources under his or her care.
NACD and NRCS have scheduled a special webinar to give you even more information and insight into RSET, as well as opportunities to ask questions. This webinar is scheduled for 1:00pm Eastern on Wednesday, July 12. The great thing about this webinar is there are a few ways for you to participate – you can join using the computer instructions below, listen in from your phone, or watch the archived recording posted to the NACD website at a later date.
Below is the connection information, but we will also be sending out the connection information the day before in a special email reminder:
Join by computer: NACD uses AdobeConnect for webinars. This system should work in all browsers, but does seem to do best with Firefox.
To join the webinar, go to https://nacdnet.adobeconnect.com/nacdwebinar/. The first time you do this, you may need to download an add-in from AdobeConnect to update your flash.
When you reach the webpage, type in your full name and enter as a ‘Guest.’ You’ll be taken to a page with audio options:
a. To listen to audio through your computer: You can click on ‘Listen Only’ to stream audio through your computer. Even though sound is available through the computer on this system, we still use the phone so that those with spotty internet connections can hear the presentations.
b. Audio through your phone: Click on ‘Dial-Out,’ type in your phone number and then click ‘Join.’ The webinar system will call that number; when you answer, it will direct you to press *1. This will automatically link your Adobe and phone lines together.
If you have problems connecting to the webinar through your computer, please contact Conference America at 1-800-925-8000. Tell them you are trying to access a webinar by the National Association of Conservation Districts.
To join by phone only:
Dial toll free 1-800-496-0812, Participant Passcode = 44910442#
Webinars and Other Network Opportunities
NACD regularly schedules webinars for the Network that cover topics and include speakers that YOU are interested in. Please send your ideas for speakers and topics to NACD’s Beth Mason, the SHC Network coordinator.
Free SARE Resources for NACD Soil Health Champions
USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has published two books in particular – Managing Cover Crops Profitably and Building Soils for Better Crops – that cover essential soil management tools for farmers and ranchers.
For a limited time, SARE is giving Soil Health Champions these books for FREE as a way of supporting NACD's soil health education and outreach efforts. To order your copy, call (301) 779-1007 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Eastern and mention the code "SOIL."
This offer expires on August 1. Shipping is free, too! Each caller may request one free copy of each title.
Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life
In this book, a MacArthur Fellow makes an impassioned call for sustainable agriculture: ditch the plow, cover the soil, and diversify crop rotations.
From the inside and back covers:
“The problem of agriculture is as old as civilization. Throughout history, great societies that abusedtheir land withered into poverty or disappeared entirely. Now we risk repeating this ancient story on a global scale due to ongoing soil degradation, a changing climate, and a rising population.
But there is reason for hope. David R. Montgomery introduces us to
farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing soil back to life remarkably fast. Growing a Revolution draws on visits to farms in the industrialized world and developing world to show that a new combination of farming practices can deliver innovative, cost-effective solutions to problems farmers face today.
Cutting through standard debates about conventional and organic farming, Montgomery explores why practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture help restore soil health and fertility. Farmers he visited found it both possible and profitable to stop plowing up the soil and blanketing fields with chemicals. Montgomery finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations provides the essential recipe to rebuild soil organic matter. Farmers using these unconventional practices cultivate beneficial soil life, smother weeds, and suppress pests while relying on far less, if any, fertilizer and pesticides.
These practices are good for farmers and the environment. Using less fossil fuel and agrochemicals while maintaining crop yields helps farmers with their bottom line. Regenerative practices also translate into farms that use less water, generate less pollution, lower carbon emissions―and stash an impressive amount of carbon underground. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Growing a Revolution lays out a solid case for an inspiring vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all, cool the planet, and restore life to the land.”
To purchase your physical copy or audiobook of this title, head to Amazon Books! And don’t forget to make your Amazon purchases with NACD as your charitable organization. AmazonSmile will donate a portion of the purchase price to NACD at no cost to you!
Donavon Taves (Louisiana Champion)
May 19 at 4:06pm
“YESSSS! So I am getting parts at my local dealer. (Not tillage parts). When the parts guy called myname, another customer which I did not know, turned to me and asked "Did he call you Donavon Taves?" I quickly moved out of arms-length, and said yes.
Then those words like music flowed off his tongue - "Man, I saw how you were planting into that residue and figured that if it works for Donavon, it will work on my farm too. So I tried it. And it did."
This reference was made about a farm on which many people thought I was giving proof that my marbles had been lost. Some of y'all know THAT story. Made my day.”
Are you on Facebook? Are you a part of our Facebook group “NACD Soil Health Champions?” If not, please join! We share encouraging stories like this along with pictures of your operations, videos of your outreach, articles of interest, and events coming up such as field days and regional/national meetings.
Search for the group on Facebook and click to join, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an invitation to the group. It’s a great way to connect with your peers from across the country!
First Step to Joining the Network: Have you taken it?
When you joined the Network you would’ve received an initial questionnaire that we use to write up a profile on you and your operation for NACD’s website. Unfortunately, we’re missing about 20 profiles because a portion of champs still haven’t completed their questionnaires.
If you go to NACD’s website and click on the Soil Health Champions Network, you’ll see this interactive map. All the black pins on the map (pictured below) represent the location of each of our Champions, and when clicked, takes you to a Champion’s profile. For a fraction of those pins though, when you click them, you’re taken to a page that says “profile pending.”
If your profile is still “pending,” please consider taking that first step in joining the group by providing us with a completed questionnaire. The questionnaire’s four prompts – yes! There’re just four of them! – can be found below. Once you’ve answered these questions, please send your responses directly to Beth Mason, the Network coordinator.
Provide a brief bio. Include your name, operation location, names of family members, and your conservation district affiliation.
Describe your operation. What soil health practices do you use? Reduced tillage, cover crops, multi-species crop rotations, riparian buffers, or something else? What caused you to begin using them? How long have you been using them?
Share some of your experiences as a result of adopting soil health practices. Good and not-so-good experiences are equally important to share with the Network!
What challenges have you had to face as a result of using soil health practices? Has your operation’s location (climate, soil types, etc.) been a challenge? And how have you overcome these challenges?
If you have photographs (cover crops, no-till, livestock, forestry, etc.) and are comfortable sharing them, NACD would like to use them to help spread the word about soil health practices and benefits. Please include them in your email.
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