2018 Conservation Symposia

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Please click the name of the presenter to view a copy of their presentation.

NACD’s Conservation Symposia give conservation businesses, districts, and individuals the platform to discuss the complex issues that we face every day. This year’s topics tackle urban conservation and agriculture, soil health and conservation planning, and private-public agribusiness partnerships.

January 31, 2018

Agribusiness Symposium: Innovative Private-Public Partnerships for Sustainability and Conservation: Taking 4Rs from Concept to Reality

Hermitage AB – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sponsored by:

Learn best practices and pitfalls to avoid from innovative partnerships that are using cutting-edge technologies to ensure the long-term viability of farming and ranching operations. Hear about new collaborations with agricultural businesses across the country to enhance and accelerate the transfer and adoption of innovative conservation technologies.

Expanding upon the traditional federal and state conservation partnership of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), these new private/public partnerships extend the reach of NRCS’ and NACDs technical and financial assistance to new customers and through new channels. Similarly, increasing agribusiness employees’ knowledge and understanding of USDA technical and financial assistance programs can expand conservation adoption and increase the overall sustainability of farming, ranching, and forestland operations.

Leading industry agribusiness retailers will share their experiences and insights through the presentation of six case studies; such as how small independent agribusiness retailers and producers working together can both benefit financially while improving environmental outcomes, how five partners came together to develop a flagship program for irrigation management, and how drone technology and aerial images helped one farm implement variable rate fertilizer placement to improve both crop yield and the environment. Click here to view individual summaries of the six case studies.

Partnership Forum: Bringing together Soil Health, Resource Evaluation, and Conservation Planning

Hermitage C – 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

NCDEA, NACD, NASCA, NARC&DC’s, and NRCS will provide additional information and updates on the National Conservation Planning Partnership and how it relates to your district; soil health; the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool; and Conservation Planning Boot Camp initiatives for district employees moving forward nationally, statewide, and on farms/ranches. A portion of the forum will allow participants to ask questions and engage with presenters informally.

Presenters: Tim Riley, NCDEA
Astor Boozer, NRCS
Phylis Vandevere, NACD
David Lamm, NRCS
Beth Mason, NACD
Aaron Lauster, NRCS
Dan Diaz, Soil Health Champion, Lena, IL
Mike Brown, NASCA
Melissa Higbee, NCDEA
Laura Demmel, NACD

Urban Agriculture Conservation Symposium

Hermitage D – 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

In 2016 and 2017, NACD partnered with NRCS to award grants to 61 conservation districts in 31 states to boost technical assistance capacity for urban agriculture conservation. This symposium will feature some of the initiative’s grant recipients sharing their goals and the progress they have made in addressing their communities’ unique natural resource concerns.

Riverside-Corona RCD, CA

The RCD will feature ways natural resource conservation is realized through community engagement and innovative partnerships particularly through its urban agriculture initiative, school and community gardens and education programs. Learn about the Land Use Learning Center, a 3-acre demonstration garden of sustainable practices in agriculture, urban areas and native habitats of inland Southern California.

Greenville County SWCD, SC

The SWCD took an overgrown, unused urban lot and produced a crop in one year. The process, project, pitfalls, and (eventual) produce will be highlighted.

Jefferson CD, CO

The CD will showcase the benefits and achievements associated with the Urban Agriculture Internship, including the implementation of the District’s Equipment Share Program for urban farmers.

Flint River SWCD, GA

The SWCD will share ways they were worked with government agencies and local non-profits to build multiple community gardens and use these gardens as outdoor classrooms, community gathering spaces, and access point for people in underserved communities to receive fresh, locally-grown produce via farm stands.

King CD, WA

The CD is developing an online platform to aggregate all of the community gardens/farms in the county, parts of which are designated as a USDA food desert. The website will help would-be gardeners find space, lead volunteers to garden events and showcase a growing trend in utilizing open space to support community agriculture.

Henricopolis SWCD, VA

Multiple, diverse organizations joined forces to convert four overgrown acres adjacent to a middle school into a productive community farm. The combination of assets, skills, and incentives proved successful in the creation of the Cornerstone Community Farm. This presentation will explore the benefits and challenges of collaboration in urban agriculture through the framework of this project.

Johnson County SWCD, IA

The SWCD partnered with Johnson County Board of Supervisors and community partners to improve healthy food access through the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm by implementing conservation practices to improve drainage infrastructure, coordinating soil health monitoring using the haney method, and hosting soil health workshops.


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