July 6, 2011
It’s Not Too Late! Register for the 2011 NACD Legislative
If you have not yet registered for NACD’s 2011 Summer
Legislative Conference, now’s your chance! This year,
participants will receive an update on conservation and land
issues from U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Deputy
Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Marcilynn
Burke, Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) Bob Perciasepe and other agency heads. The
conference will also feature expert panels on TMDL and the
Take advantage of this opportunity to meet with your members
of Congress to discuss conservation policy and the work of
districts at the local level. The conference is a great time
to interact with Capitol Hill staff and learn about the latest
2012 Farm Bill developments. Your voice on Capitol Hill can be
powerful; do not miss the chance to make your message heard!
On Wednesday, July 20, NACD will be offering a special workshop
titled “Kicking Your Conservation Message into High Gear.”
The workshop will consist of two sessions: “Social Media Boot
Camp” and an “In-District Advocacy Activity.” The sessions
will focus on developing powerful messages and communications
tools to effectively share the message of conservation with
your local community and policymakers.
To register for the 2011 Legislative Conference and the
“Kicking Your Conservation Message into High Gear” workshop,
Numeric Nutrient Criteria Letter
On June 23, NACD, with a diverse group of 50 state, local
and agriculture associations, sent a letter
to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging them
not to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to reducing nutrient
The letter states that “Rather than giving states room to
innovate and respond to local water quality needs, the Agency
appears to reinforce a more inflexible and counterproductive
EPA position…that states must adopt numeric nutrient criteria
(NNC), in all water bodies, for both nitrogen and phosphorus.”
The groups acknowledge that nitrogen and phosphorus pollution
is a serious water quality concern, and point to state efforts
to develop meaningful approaches to control nutrients.
The letter states that “EPA’s insistence that states must
ultimately develop independently applicable NNC for all water
bodies, even in the absence of a cause and effect relationship
between the nutrient level and achievement of designated uses,
is not scientifically defensible and is undermining innovative
state approaches to reducing nutrient pollution.”
The letter encourages EPA to “take meaningful public steps to
support innovative approaches for reducing nutrient loadings and,
where a state believes NNC areappropriate, innovative approaches
for developing scientifically defensible NNC.”
House Will Examine Farm Bill Conservation Programs and Hold
On Thursday, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation,
Energy and Forestry will hold a hearing titled, “Agricultural
Program Audit: Examination of conservation programs.” The
hearing will focus on Farm Bill preparation, as well as education
for freshmen lawmakers on the Agriculture Committee. The
subcommittee will highlight the state of current conservation
programs and examine whether the funding for these programs is
fitting the needs of landowners. NRCS Chief Dave White and Bruce
Nelson, FSA, will testify. The hearing, previously scheduled for
Wednesday, June 22, is part of an attempt to increase oversight
of agricultural programs.
The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. To view the hearing live,
via webcast, visit the committee website.
Also on Thursday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing
to mark up draft legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2012
appropriations. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m., but will
not be available on webcast.
For more information, click here.
Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Livestock Hearing
Last week, NRCS Chief Dave White testified before the U.S.
Senate Agriculture Committee during the “State of Livestock
in America” hearing. In his testimony, Chief White focused on
three areas that assist livestock producers: Farm Bill
conservation programs, innovative technology and risk reduction.
Chief White made it clear that NRCS will work to keep farmers
and ranchers on the land by creating programs to ensure that
producers may continue to do their jobs. Through conservation
programs like Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP),
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Conservation Technical
Assistance (CTA), farmers and ranchers are able to increase
efficiency through new technologies and avoid regulation by
implementing best management practices.
Though conservation was the focus of the hearing, programs
like CSP, EQIP and the Conservation Reserve Program received
praise from a number of witnesses. Both Chairwoman Debbie
Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)
also voiced support for EQIP and vowed to look for ways to
support the program in the 2012 Farm Bill.
USDA Provides More Funding for Sage Grouse
On June 30, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
announced an additional $18.2 million in funding through the
Farm Bill’s Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). The money will
allow farmers and ranchers to maintain and preserve Sage Grouse
USDA will focus on three specific Western states: Idaho
($5.5 million), Utah ($2.3 million) and Wyoming ($10.4 million.)
The GRP will formally become a conservation program used for the
USDA’s Sage Grouse Initiative launched in 2010.
Earlier this fiscal year, USDA provided $53 million to 11 Western
states via Farm Bill conservation programs.
For information about NRCS conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.
Schmidt Family Foundation Offers Funding Opportunity
The Schmidt Family Foundation is offering funding opportunities
to organizations that “help transform the world’s environmental
and energy practices in the 21st century.” Grants are awarded
in the areas of environment, education and sustainable development
within the range of $2,000 to $4.8 million.
To be considered, applicants must first submit a Letter of Inquiry
(LOI) to the foundation.
Once the LOI has been reviewed, the foundation will send notification
if a formal online application is requested. The Schmidt Family
Foundation will only review applications submitted online.
Visit The Schmidt Family Foundation’s website at www.theschmidtfamilyfoundation.org for more information.
Join CTIC for Annual “Great Farms, Great Lake” Conservation
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC http://www.ctic.org)
will host its annual “Conservation In Action Tour,” August 8-9
in Northwest Ohio. The tour is a great opportunity to interact
with Lake Erie basin farmers and learn how agricultural
conservation systems and technologies can benefit the Great
For years, conservationists have focused on the Maumee River
basin as the source of excess dissolved phosphorus and nitrogen,
which is detrimental to Lake Erie. The Tour will highlight
ways producers are implementing innovative conservation
practices and solutions to water quality issues.
For more information and to register, visit: www.ctic.org/CIATours.
Register by July 8 and save $25. The Conservation in Action
Tour is sponsored in part by Mosaic,
John Deere, Syngenta and Agrium.
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