FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook
NACD SUMMER CONSERVATION FORUM AND TOUR YIELDS STRONG SUPPORT FOR VOLUNTARY CONSERVATION NATIONALLY
WASHINGTON, July 26, 2017 – The National Association of Conservation Districts recently concluded its annual Summer Conservation Forum and Tour, which was held jointly with the Conservation Districts of Iowa Annual Commissioners’ Meeting. The event drew over 460 NACD board members, Iowa commissioners, NRCS employees, and other conservation supporters.
“Bringing the leaders of NACD and CDI together with our partner organizations and agencies through this meeting in Iowa has proved invaluable to the future of conservation work in this country,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “NACD would like to thank CDI for its many contributions to the planning and implementation of this meeting, as well as the meeting’s sponsors and exhibitors for their generous support of voluntary, locally-led conservation.”
This year’s summer meeting featured a top-notch slate of speakers, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting Chief Leonard Jordan, Iowa Agriculture Secretary and former conservation district commissioner Bill Northey, and Iowa farmer and former NFL player Bruce Nelson.
Through several business meetings and panel discussions, the program provided a platform for attendees to share best practices and their conservation districts’ localized experiences. Earlier on the agenda during NACD’s board meeting, President Van Dyke announced $1 million in technical assistance grants for district-led urban agriculture conservation projects.
With support from NRCS, NACD established the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grants Initiative in 2016 to help conservation districts and their partners provide technical support to urban farmers, community gardens, and other local agricultural partnerships to implement conservation practices that support local food production. Since then, NACD has awarded a total of $3 million in grants to 61 conservation districts in 30 states through this initiative.
Descriptions of the projects funded in the 2017 funding cycle are available on NACD’s website.
“As American agriculture grows in new directions, NRCS and its partners are ensuring agricultural producers have access to technical assistance and financial support to make conservation improvements on their farms, regardless if it’s measured in feet or acres,” Acting Chief Jordan said. “Urban farming comes with a unique set of challenges and opportunities, and we’re here to help along the way.”
The meeting was generously sponsored by Agri Drain, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, AgSolver, NRCS, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, The Mosaic Company, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers, Land O’Lakes – SUSTAIN, Dupont Pioneer, Warner Ranch, Soil and Water Conservation Society (both the National and Iowa Chapter), Soil Health Institute, Ducks Unlimited, Iowa Water Center, Ecosystem Services Exchange, Practical Farmers of Iowa, the National Conservation District Employees Association, and Peoples Company.
Next year’s Summer Conservation Forum and Tour will be held August 2-8, 2018, in Williamsburg, Virginia, in conjunction with the NACD Southeast Region Meeting.
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.