NACD Learns About Conservation in the Caribbean
week, leaders and staff from the National Association of Conservation Districts
(NACD) traveled to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to meet with
conservation districts and government officials to learn more about their
resource concerns, district structure and projects, and how the islands have
recovered from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
Van Dyke, Southeast Region Executive Board Member Jim Harreld, Director
of Projects and Partnerships Rich
Duesterhaus, Southeast Region Representative Phylis Vandevere and
Director of Communications Stephanie
Addison along with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Caribbean Area Director Edwin
Almodovar had the opportunity to meet
with conservation district representatives and partners to learn more
about some of the specific projects the islands had underway in the area and
how the islands were affected. To learn more about the islands' main resource
concerns and the role NRCS is playing in providing farmers assistance, check
out Almodovar's blog. Additionally, the team had the
privilege to meet
and hear directly from several of the employees who were hired under NACD's
technical assistance grant program with NRCS. To learn more about technical
assistance grants in Puerto Rico and USVI, read
with some of the territories' most influential agriculture leaders,
including Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores Ortega and representatives
Ricardo Rossello's office. These leaders are passionate not only about
recovering, but about planning for the future and making the islands even more resilient. In fact,
Jim Harreld extended a personal invitation to the agriculture
secretary to attend NACD's summer meeting in Williamsburg.
On June 28, NACD traveled
to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to meet with USVI Commissioner of Agriculture Carlos
Robles to present the islands with two checks as a part of a $100,000
technical assistance grant for the island. Later that day, the team met with
the Department of Public Works Commissioner Nelson
Petty and local producers in the area to learn how infrastructure was
affected during the hurricanes in addition to the conservation techniques
utilized by farmers on the island.
While they still
have a long way to go, the islands are hard at work addressing the damage. Stay
tuned for a full recap later this month on NACD's time in Puerto Rico and the
USVI. You can find photos from the trip on our Flickr page, search for posts
on social media using the hashtag #ConservationInTheCaribbean, and check out our most
recent blog posts.
NACD Government Affairs Update
On Thursday, June 28, the Senate passed its version
of the 2018 farm bill with a vote of 86-11.
Now that both the House and the Senate have passed their respective versions, each
chamber will convene a conference committee where a group of members will work
to settle the two versions' differences to send a final bill to the President’s
For NACD’s take on the
Senate farm bill, check out Director of Government Affairs Coleman
NACD is hopeful that
with just under three months before the current farm bill expires, Congress has
left itself enough time to work through the conference committee process and
pass a new farm bill on time.
NCPP Listening Session Garners Conservation Planning Input
On Wednesday, June 27, nearly 150 participants from NRCS, conservation districts and state officials provided input to the fifth National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) listening
session in Syracuse, N.Y.
NACD Secretary-Treasurer Kim LaFleur represented the
association and presented the findings of the 2016 survey of farmers,
employee and district officials regarding their ideas on conservation
planning. National leaders from the five organizations making up the NCPP –
NACD, NRCS, NCDEA, NARC&DC and NASCA – all participated and presented segments
of the agenda. One important topic from the New York session was how to
harmonize state conservation planning requirements with national policies and
The NCPP Outcomes and Accountability Action Team spent an
extra day following the listening session in face-to-face meetings to further
advance their work to adequately measure results and accomplishments of
conservation efforts in the nation.
Three remaining listening sessions are scheduled for this
Kearney, Neb. - July 19
Fayetteville, N.C. - August 23
Casper, Wyo. - October 16
These sessions are designed to help the NCPP effort ensure
conservation planning in the future addresses priority needs such as the types
of services needed by farmers, ranchers and others.
One Month 'til Summer Meeting
The 2018 NACD Conservation Forum and Tour and Southeast Region
Meeting is quickly approaching, and there are less than two weeks left to complete your registration and hotel
reservations. This week is the last week to register by mail, and all
forms must be received by Friday, July 6. Online registration and hotel reservations must be completed by Friday, July 13.
Please do not mail or fax registration forms
after July 6. After this date, you must register online or on-site. Click here to learn
more and to review the registration form. A confirmation
letter will be sent
via email to the email address provided on the registration
form. If you do not receive your confirmation, please contact Kimberly Uldricks
at 202-547-6223 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your confirmation is your receipt for the meeting,
so please keep it for your records.
This meeting is made possible through our sponsors, including The National Wild Turkey Federation.
Soil Health Champion Spotlight
Erin Nissen is one of NACD’s newest Soil Health Champions,
residing in Mosca, Colo. Nissen graduated from Texas Tech University in 2013
with a degree in agricultural and applied economics. Since graduation, she came
home to run her family farm alongside her father, Lyle, raising conventional
and organic fresh market potatoes, malting barley for Coors and multi-species
cover crops for incorporation and feeding their 150 head of cattle.
Always researching ways to improve their operation, the
Nissens make it a priority to focus on maintaining healthy soils. In addition,
because their operation is located in a high-altitude desert that receives very
low precipitation, every decision made also centers on water management.
To read more about the Nissen’s farm and how they manage
their operation for soil health, be sure to visit Erin’s profile on the NACD website. To hear directly from the Nissens, be sure to check out
their video interview as the 2014 Mosca-Hooper Conservationists of the Year.
If you’d like to learn more about the NACD Soil Health
Champions Network or know someone who would be a good addition to this network,
please be sure to visit the NACD
website, download our one-page
information sheet, and contact NACD North Central Region Representative Beth
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