Annual Conference News
2015 Conservation Award Winners Announced
Bill Fuller, Dr. Alan Johnson, Reverend Neil Ainslie each won the Friend of Conservation Award. Photo: Kris Vance, NRCS
On Monday, January 12, the IASWCD honored farmers, county employees, educators, and volunteers for outstanding work in conservation at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown during their Annual Conference of Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
The awards ceremony held a special meaning as 2015 marks the 75th anniversary of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Indiana. IASWCD President Jeff Meinders explained, "Thanks to the work of these award winners and other Hoosier conservationists, we have been able to make great progress in the protection of Indiana's natural resources in our first 75 years. Continued efforts by SWCD employees, supervisors, and engaged citizens will be the key to sustainable agriculture and sustainable communities for years to come."
Among those recognized were:
- The Parke and Vermillion County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (Earth Team Award) for their work in soil health education
- Jack Welp (Conservation Farmer of the Year Award) of Dubois County for his use of conservation farming practices that reduce erosion and runoff and improve organic matter in the soil
- Bill Fuller (Friend of Conservation Award) of Greene County for efforts in water quality monitoring, native plant installations, and volunteering with his local SWCD
- Dr. Alan Johnson (Friend of Conservation Award), dean of the Vincennes University Jasper Campus (VUJC), for the VUJC Land Stewardship Initiative, which serves as a site for research into conservation agriculture
- Reverend Neil Ainslie (Friend of Conservation Award), for education programs on the science of the Wabash River and water quality monitoring
- The Clay and Vanderburgh County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (District Showcase Award) for their natural resource conservation outreach programs
- James (Jim) Brown (Supervisor of the Year Award) of Washington County for his outstanding leadership in conservation and natural resource protection
The IASWCD also recognized National Association of Conservation Districts past president Gene Schmidt with the IASWCD President's Award and IASWCD past president Jeff Meinders with the Outgoing President Award.
Conference Photos Available on Facebook
Supervisors from the Northwest region with their legislators at the Legislative Breakfast.
Photos from the Legislative Breakfast, Awards Luncheon, and other Annual Conference events are now available on the IASWCD Facebook page. If you haven't already "liked" our page, visit us and check out the photos! (Even if you do not have a Facebook account, the link and the photos are accessible to the public). And, if you have any pictures you would like to share with other districts, feel free to post them on our wall or send to Emily at [email protected].
Indiana NRCS Announces First Projects of New, Innovative Program
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that 115 high-impact projects across all 50 states, including Indiana, will receive more than $370 million as part of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
RCPP's historic focus on public-private partnerships enables private companies, local communities and other non-government partners a way to invest in efforts to keep our land productive and water clean, and promote tremendous economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism and outdoor recreation, and other industries.
Of the 115 projects announced today, the three that impact Indiana include:
* The University of Notre Dame - The project will assist with adoption of cover crops and two-stage ditches in targeted watersheds. Soil and water quality and quantity benefits will be quantified and monitored at the watershed scale. The effect of these practices on water and soil quality and the economic impacts for both public and private interests will be documented. In addition, modeling efforts will make broader conclusions at the regional scale.
* The Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative - A diverse team of partners will identify high-priority sub-watersheds for phosphorus reduction and increase farmer access to public and private technical assistance in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The project will coordinate with the Ohio Phosphorus Task Force Report and move Lake Erie toward goals in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The partners will gauge success and monitor results using water quality monitoring and watershed modeling.
* The Michigan/Indiana St. Joseph River Conservation Partnership - The partnership optimize groundwater use, improve infiltration, and reduce nutrients and sediment while also improving wildlife and fisheries habitat, using innovative methods to target high-priority areas and appropriate conservation practices. Monitoring will be used to adaptively manage this project from the field-scale to the entire watershed.
--From USDA-NRCS, click here to read the full announcement.
March Region Meetings
Dates and locations have been announced for March region meetings. See below for the dates, contact information, host county, and location.
Tuesday, March 3
Jennings Co. Education Center
Tuesday, March 17
Delphi United Methodist Church
Thursday, March 19
Otterbein Methodist Church
Wednesday, March 25
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
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 one PDF to [email protected] to have it posted on the website.
CCSI - Agronomist
- Apply online at the Purdue Careers site. More details are available here, but you must apply through the Purdue website to be considered.
American Farm Bureau Seeks Input via "Women in Ag" Survey
The American Farm Bureau Federation's "Women in Agriculture" survey seeks to understand what women in agriculture are thinking about the future and the leadership skills they need to be successful. The survey can be found online here. Everyone who completes a survey is eligible to win one of five $100 gift cards.
GrantStation & Current Funding Opportunities
View the latest GrantStation on the IASWCD website. Several other current grants are also posted there.
Purdue "Got Nature?" Blog
Check out this Purdue blog with great reads on all things forestry and nature. You can ask questions, find how-to guides, and download their podcast as well.