Conservation Update
April 9 - 23, 2014 
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Top News

River Friendly Farmer Application Now River Friendly Farmer logo
Does a River Friendly Farmer live in your District? Nominate them for this annual award! Find the award application here. Annually, each county Soil and Water Conservation District may nominate up to two farmers who do an outstanding job of protecting their rivers, lakes and streams through their every day conservation management practices on the farm. Watershed organizations also may nominate farmers for the award by submitting an application to a county SWCD. All applications are due by June 13, 2014.

IDEA Rule 5 Workshop on May 12

Those interested in learning more about Rule 5 please make plans to attend a Rule 5 Training & Workshop hosted by the Indiana District Employee Association (IDEA) South-Southwest Region on May 12 from 1 - 4pm Eastern at the Vincennes University Jasper Campus in Jasper, Indiana. This informative training will be conducted by Sue Bock, IDEM Stormwater Specialist, who will go through a set of plans in a classroom style format with a copy provided to those that attend.  Cost for attending is $15 for IDEA members and $20 for non-members. Online registration is available at Please contact Amanda Bough, for more details at 812-482-1171 ex.3.


New Soil Health Events Newsletter
Starting next Wednesday, people who have signed up for the CCSI events newsletter will begin receiving a brand-new bi-weekly email that lists upcoming soil health events by region. This events email will go out to agency staff, farmers, crop advisors, and more. Join the mailing list here. Send your Hub team members your upcoming events to have them listed!

It's Earth Week: Celebrate Soil Health!
Read more about "the sustainable solutions at our feet" from NRCS.

Keep updated with CCSI events on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up to join our mailing list!
Conservation News

Funding to Improve Wildlife Habitat is Available to Indiana Landowners The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana is accepting applications from landowners interested in establishing wildlife habitat through NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program's (EQIP). The former Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) has been folded into the EQIP and funds will be available to target eligible applications containing a core set of wildlife habitat development practices. Anyone interested in these voluntary programs should contact their local NRCS office.


Op-Ed:  Earth Day-Every Day NRCS Helps Farmers Protect Our Resources

By Jane Hardisty, Indiana NRCS State Conservationist

Earth Day is approaching and as we look to the future, we see a complex, changing world ahead of us. Today, there are more than 7 billion people on our planet and 925 million of them are malnourished.  The United Nations projects that we'll have 3 billion more people on the planet in the next 90 years.  


More and more farmland is disappearing each year here in Indiana and across the country.  We are facing an altered environment-where climate change and threats to our air, water, soils and wildlife are real. 


Because 70 percent of the land owned in the U.S. is privately owned (approximately 90 percent in Indiana), the fate of our natural resources is not going to be decided on public lands, but by millions of farmers, forestland owners, and ranchers making decisions every day. These landowners choose how to use the natural resources on their lands. 


If you follow agricultural media you know we have a new Farm Bill.  This bill sends a strong message about the importance of our natural resources by providing more dollars than ever for our nation's agricultural and conservation efforts.  Farm Bill programs help improve air quality and water quality, provide healthy plant and animal communities, ensure an adequate energy supply and sustain natural resources on working lands.  


In Indiana, employees with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service are working with farmers each day to help them develop and carry out their conservation plan and providing information about the various types of programs available.  These employees are trained to understand the soil, water and related natural resources.  They know what it takes to keep our drinking water clean, and more importantly they know how to keep our resources sustainable so that we can continue to feed a hungry planet and without destroying it.  


I believe one of the best ways to improve and sustain our natural resources is to embrace soil health management practices such as cover crops, no-till and nutrient management.  Soil health is not a new concept.  In many ways, this system of practices simulates nature's way of conserving and protecting this limited resource.  For example, keeping soil covered at all times protects it from erosion and decomposing plants feed the soil with nutrients.  Good soil health builds a resiliency in the soil that can weather the extremes of drought, storms, and heat.  The environmental benefits of soil health practices are great, but even better farmers are seeing increases in production and ultimately to their bottom line.   


Every day is Earth Day for NRCS.  We are doing our part to help meet the challenges that lay ahead for our world by helping landowners take action to improve their land.  I am so proud of our employees who have a passion for what they do and who work every day to make Indiana a great place to live!

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 Upcoming Events

Look! These and many, many more events are listed on our statewide events calendar.

Planning an Event? Get it on our calendar using this form!

April 29:
Webinar: Urban Farms: Commercial Farms or Socially Minded Operations?"

April 28:
Soil - It's Alive! Program; by CCSI's Hans Kok

April 30:
- Webinar: Preparing a Seeding Plan for Conservation Practices
- Webinar: Evaluating Geomorphic Change in Constructed Two-Stage Ditches in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan

May 7:
- Indiana GIS Conference
- Webinar: Purdue's Two-Stage Ditch: What we've learned so far about what to plant and impacts on nutrients and fish
- Webinar for SWCDs: "Waters of the U.S." Proposed Rule

May 8:
Webinar, Agricultural Working Lands and Wildlife: Biological Responses to Conservation Efforts on Working Farms in the Calapooia Watershed, Oregon

May 10:
Plant Sale & Auction on the theme "Native Alternatives for Gardening"

May 12:
- IDEA Rule 5 Workshop

May 13:
- Webinar: Using RUSLE2 to Evaluate Soil Health Planning Principles

May 17:
- Pond Workshop

CCSI Events

July 8  

Field Day at Don Villwock's farm in Knox County 


Other News
Sign-ups Open for Disaster Assistance 
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that starting last week, eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office.
GrantStation & Current Funding Opportunities


View the latest GrantStation on the IASWCD website. Several other current grants are also posted there.
Job Board
Elkhart Co. SWCD Seeks Urban Conservationist
Read the full job description here.

Montgomery Co. SWCD Seeks Conservation Director

Applicants should have a degree in agriculture, natural resources or related discipline or equivalent experience. Must have basic knowledge of office accounting, soil and plant sciences, technical skills, conservation practices, and a working knowledge of computers. Please apply by April 23. For job duties and further inquiries, please notify Connie Cleek at [email protected]


Association of Illinois SWCDs Seeks Water Quality Coordinator / Specialist
Applications are due May 15. For more information, email [email protected].