A diverse coalition of more than 40 national organizations, including commodity groups, agriculture associations,
conservation and environmental NGOs, and major agriculture corporations, have joined together in "A Common Vision Statement on Cover Crops and Soil Health." The statement, submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), American Soybean Association (ASA) and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), provides encouragement for further work on cover crops and soil health through relevant USDA agencies and major program areas.
"Cover crops and soil health have been capturing the attention and involvement of farmers and organizations all across the U.S.," stated the groups. "These practices represent a systems-based approach to enhancing crop production and profitability, protection of soil and water resources, and land stewardship."
In the vision statement, the coalition recognized the importance of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service national soil health campaign, and many other soil-health partnerships across the nation. It also highlighted a number of ways in which the use of cover crops and other soil-health conservation practices is paying off across the nation, including: increased crop yields, better resilience to weather extremes, less soil erosion, improved nutrient management, greater carbon sequestration, and enhanced cropping system diversity.
To view the full statement and the list of signing organizations, click here. The full news release is available on the NACD website.
Indiana NRCS Announces Deadline for EQIP Applications
December 19 will be the deadline for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in Indiana. Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reminded applicants, "You can sign up for EQIP...at any time throughout the year, but to compete for the upcoming funding period, I encourage farmers with resource concerns to submit an application by the deadline."
EQIP can help producers improve soil health and address soil erosion, air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and other resource concerns on cropland, forestland, pastureland, and livestock areas. In addition to conservation practices like cover crops, no-till, manure storage structures, and fencing, EQIP provides funding for the development of plans, such as Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans, Grazing Plans, Drainage Water Management Plans, and others.
"I want to remind farmers that a conservation plan must be developed for the area that is included in an EQIP contract," Hardisty said. "When farmers develop a conservation plan for their farm, it speeds up the application process and oftentimes practices are applied more strategically."
More information, including guidelines for those who have not worked with USDA NRCS previously, is available here
NACD Annual Meeting in New Orleans
Join the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) in historic New Orleans and experience the rich musical heritage, unique architecture, delicious food and outstanding hospitality of the area. NACD's 2015 Annual Meeting will take place February 1-4 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
NACD is planning a great lineup of tours, workshops, breakout sessions, a live auction, and more! You can find more details and travel information on the NACD website.
Nominations Open for NACD Executive Board Member
The North Central Region of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) would like to announce the upcoming elections for the NACD North Central Region Executive Board Member - candidates are now being accepted. This is for the NACD Executive Board Member position representing the North Central Region (not the North Central Region Board).
This leadership opening on the NACD Executive Board is available to any conservation district official in your state as long as they are not a full time, paid employee. This position is elected by the NACD North Central Region Board which consists of a representative from IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, OH and WI. From now through December 31, Beth Mason, the NACD North Central Region Field Services Representative (b[email protected]
) will be collecting any letters of intent or resumes from candidates to distribute to the NACD North Central Region Board prior to the elections which will be held at the NACD Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
For more information on the Executive Board position, please see the job description for this leadership position which outlines the qualifications and the responsibilities. If you are unable to get a letter of intent or resume to Beth before the deadline, you can still run for this position. The purpose of these letters is just to allow the region board to get to know you before the elections.
Happy Second Birthday to "Unlock the Secrets in the Soil"
This month marks two years
of a renewed focus on soil health for the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The campaign started in October 2012 and has spread the soil health message across the nation through field days, workshops, and other events.
Recently, NRCS Chief Jason Weller commented on the initiative's purpose, saying, "NRCS's soil health campaign was not created to make a splash, it was created to make a difference. And thanks to all of you, we are making a profound difference across the landscapes of this great nation-today and for generations to come."
If you haven't visited the NRCS "Unlock the Secrets in the Soil" website lately, check out some of the great success stories and resources they have available. Here's to many more years of success for the soil health movement!
Don't Forget - Send Us Your Demo Plot Info!
fill out a spreadsheet with your demo plot's information. An example row is included in the first row in italics. (Be sure to include the latitude/longitude of the plot's location for the most accurate mapping!) Please send your completed spreadsheet to [email protected] to be included in the map.
Thanks to those who have shared your cover crop demo plot information to be included in our statewide, interactive map
! You can take a sneak peak of the map now, but there's still room for more. Please click to
January 11-13, 2015
Registration forms, a PDF version of the conference brochure, and a link to the online registration site are available now on the IASWCD website's conference page
Don't Forget - Deadlines
November 6, 13, and 14:
- Save the Date for Orange Co. Cover Crop Field Day
In addition to this section of our newsletter, we now have a new page on the IASWCD website where job opportunities with Districts can be posted. Please email job descriptions, instructions for applying, and a deadline in a PDF to [email protected] to have it posted on the website.
Dubois Co. SWCD Seeks Resource Specialist
Please click here for the job description and here for instructions for applying.
Wayne Co. SWCD Seeks Watershed Coordinator
Please click here for the job description and instructions.
FSA Program Technician Openings
Please click here for more information on these openings and how to apply.
GrantStation & Current Funding Opportunities
View the latest GrantStation on the IASWCD website. Several other current grants are also posted there.