Conservation Innovation at the Forefront at NACD’s 2020 Annual Meeting

By Laura Demmel

Innovations within the conservation space are happening all the time. From landscape planning tools, agriculture precision tools, remote sensing tools, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and seed and nutrient discoveries, technology is undoubtedly changing the way we deliver conservation on the ground.


The landscape of conservation innovation may rightly feel overwhelming to a public conservation district that has decades of experience in conservation planning and established methods of resource protection. However, the pressure of today’s climate, both politically and physically, is one that demands and deserves more accurate and complete conservation planning tools. Conservation districts, as the leaders of local conservation efforts, are in a position to bring together stakeholders across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to accomplish more through building partnerships on the ground and using the best technologies available.

This year’s NACD Annual Meeting brings together many technologies and innovations that exist and are in use today that impact conservation delivery on the ground. With ag tech startups raising over $16.9 billion in 2018 alone, and with longstanding private companies and the public sector investing in more technological tools to support working lands conservation, NACD’s goal this year at the 74th Annual Meeting is to elevate the conversation on how we can better integrate these innovations across the public and private sectors.* How can we build stronger conservation planning tools for public employees, agronomists, other trusted advisors and farmers/ranchers/foresters?

Why is NACD leading this conversation in conservation innovation?

NACD represents the 3,000 conservation districts out there that are leading those local efforts toward protecting natural resources. The conference will bring together over 1,000 local conservation district officials, district employees, other public conservation partners on the federal and state level, and a number of national leaders in public, private and nonprofit conservation. This audience both strategizes conservation delivery on working lands across the United States and also works on the ground to implement conservation practices locally or regionally. These attendees are known as our nation’s most progressive and well-connected conservationists, who attend for the sole purpose of being informed and engaged with tools and practices that are worth adopting. The convening of this group is ideal for setting a stage for meaningful dialogue that provides perspective from the national down to the local level.

Consider joining us at the 2020 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, February 8-12, 2020 at the Bally’s Hotel, and make sure to stop by the Innovation Fair to engage in the conservation innovation conversation.

If interested in exhibit booths or sponsorship opportunities, please contact NACD Director of Development Laura Demmel (laura-demmel[at] or 406-539-4670).

*AgFunder’s AgriFood Tech Investing Report, March 7, 2019,

Tags: innovation fair

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