NACD Annual Meeting TA Grant Participant: Steven Meeks

This blog post is part of a nine-part series highlighting technical assistance (TA) grant recipient participation at NACD’s 76th Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. This post’s author, Steven Meeks of Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District in VA, attended the meeting as a TA speaker.

Through a TA Grant from NACD, the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District (TJSWCD), located in central Virginia, has been assisting our local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field office with technical assistance site visits on equine operations and small farms (CTA) as well as increasing outreach and sign-ups for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). TJSWCD and NRCS both recognized an opportunity to target past program participants for CSP while at the same time help provide resources to small farms that are underserved by Virginia state and federal cost share programs. Our district staff understands that small acreage farmers and horse owners face the same resource concerns as larger farms such as manure management, erosion, and poor pasture quality, but often lack resources and technical guidance needed to implement change. To date, district staff has consulted with over 40 landowners to provide technical assistance on small farms and equine operations and have identified nearly 30 farms that are suitable for CSP sign-up.

Grant funds have allowed TJSWCD to increase outreach materials and methods to better target this undeserved farming community in our area. New materials developed include: a comprehensive resource binder with over 50 technical guides on grazing techniques, invasive species control, farm planning, etc.; manure compost signs for community education workshops; and soil test kits. A four-part video series is also underway highlighting equine best management practices, interviews with landowners and district and NRCS staff. The videos are being shared on the TJSWCD website and social media as educational tools to inspire land managers to address their resource concerns. “Our hope is that the materials and videos produced through this grant give every land manager a toolbox of resources that they can turn to in order to deepen their knowledge of best management practices,” said Lisa Hyatt, TJSWCD Outreach and Administrative Coordinator.

Tags: TA Annual Meeting Series

Latest News

Calendar of Events

Find your Local District