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Conservation INsight
January 6, 2021
Virtual Conference of Indiana SWCDs Opens Next Monday!
January 11-13, 2021

It's not too late to register...

Daily HIghlights:
Monday, January 11
11:30 am – 5 pm (EST)
Opening Session with Keynote Speaker, Damian Mason; Exhibitor Exploration; Breakout Session #1; SWCD Region Meetings; Happy Hour
Tuesday, January 12
7:30 am – 1:30 pm (EST)
Coffee Briefing with Legislators; IASWCD Business Meeting; Breakout Sessions #2 and #3; Exhibitor Exploration
Wednesday, January 13
9:00 am – 1:00 pm (EST)
Breakout Session #4; Exhibitor Exploration; Roundtables; Closing and Awards Ceremony
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Meet Eliana Blaine . . .
IASWCD Announces Director of New Urban Soil Health Program
The Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD) announces Eliana Blaine as the Program Director of the new Urban Soil Health Program initiative beginning January 4. This Urban Soil Health Program is being launched as a partnership between the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It will promote a systematic conservation approach to agriculture in urban settings and with farmers otherwise new to agriculture.
IASWCD Resolution and Legislative Briefing for Indiana District Staff and Supervisors
January 7
5:00 pm (EST)
In lieu of the traditional IASWCD in-person resolution and legislative briefing, IASWCD will be holding a virtual briefing Thursday evening before the 2021 Annual SWCD Conference and IASWCD Business Meeting. This briefing is scheduled at 5 PM, on Thursday, January 7. Emails were sent to districts on December 30 with the Zoom meeting link information. If you did not receive this, please contact Joe Schmees at joseph-schmees@iaswcd.org.
As a reminder, this time is to review the resolutions and ask for clarification, not to debate their merits. Merit discussion is to be held during the IASWCD Business Meeting on January 12. Our lobbyist Cress Hizer will also be joining us for this legislative briefing to provide an outlook on the 2021 Indiana General Assembly. If you are not able to join us, we will be recording the session and will make it available for viewing the next day. We hope you will join us for this important review.
Three Regional Urban Soil Health Specialist Openings - Apply through January 8
The Regional Urban Soil Health Specialists will be the technical field staff implementing the new IASWCD Urban Soil Health Program, promoting a systematic conservation approach to agriculture in urban settings and with farmers otherwise new to agriculture. The Regional Urban Soil Health Specialists will work to develop and maintain strong working relationships with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and other local partners in their service area, supporting the development of the local urban soil health working groups, and providing one-on-one technical assistance, education and outreach. Currently, IASWCD is hiring three (3) Regional Urban Soil Health Specialist positions in each of the following Indiana regions: northwest, northeast, and southeast. Deadline to apply is January 8 or until positions are filled.
CCSI Upcoming Webinars
These live webinars are scheduled for 8:30 AM EST
Opportunity for Q&A.
Registration is required.
January 19 Virtual Shop Visit
  • Planter Set-up for High-residue Conditions - Paul Jasa, University of Nebraska
  • Paul will take attendees on a live tour around several models of planter units, discussing inspection points and providing tips to help ensure good planting results in high-residue situations.

February 2 Virtual Shop Visit
  • Planter Modifications for Different Planting Conditions – AJ Adkins, NTM Agriculture / Dawn Equipment
  • AJ will discuss his strategies in working with clients to modify planters for their particular operations and will show attendees a variety of planter modifications (openers, closing wheels, down pressure, etc.), explaining where they might be best used.
February 19 Webinar
  • So… you want me to change how I farm? – Rodney Rulon, Rulon Enterprises
  • From finance to practical management, a farmer must answer a series of questions before seriously deciding to adopt a new conservation practice. Rodney will run through a typical list to give attendees a better insight into the process. 
NACD Cancels 2021 In-Person
Spring Fly-In
NACD is canceling the in-person 2021 Spring Fly-In that regularly takes place in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the subsequent limits on travel and in-person meetings. Stay tuned to the NACD eNewsletter, eResource, in 2021 for announcements and information on NACD’s virtual fly-in! As the new Congress and Administration get started in January, NACD’s Government Affairs team will send out more information on policy requests and advocacy tips so you, your conservation district and state association can continue to successfully advocate on behalf of locally-led conservation. For any questions or comments, please contact NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison.
NACD Announces Conservation Symposia Lineup
NACD is excited to announce that this year's Conservation Symposia will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Eastern, during NACD's 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. The symposia gives conservation districts, businesses and individuals the platform to discuss the complex issues that we face every day.
Congratulations to the recipients of this year's 2020 Division of Soil Conservation Staff Awards:
  • Most Valuable Employee: Trevor Laureys
  • Outstanding Leadership: Jennifer Thum
  • Outstanding Support: Clean Water Indiana - Tara Wesseler-Henry
  • Outstanding Support: Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program - Heath Hurst
  • Rookie of the Year: Sam Stroebel
Next State Soil Conservation Board Meeting
January 12
Indiana Agriculture Insider
Monthly Newsletter
NRCS Accepting Second Round Applications for Reclaimed Mine Lands in Southwest Indiana
Indianapolis, IN (December 28, 2020) - Jerry Raynor, State Conservationist for Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), today announced a second round of funding to improve soil health on former mine land in southwestern Indiana. All applications for funding consideration must be received by Feb. 26. Money is still available for the Reclaimed Coal Mine Lands Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), led by the Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). This project works with farmers, landowners and mine operators to implement a suite of soil health practices on reclaimed mine lands in order to improve the health of the soil, reduce the amount of sediment-laden runoff reaching local waterbodies and improve wildlife habitat.
Conservation Reserve Program General Signup Begins Today and Ends February 12
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2021 – Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) can sign up for the popular program beginning today, Jan. 4, 2021, until Feb. 12, 2021. The competitive program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes. “This signup for the Conservation Reserve Program gives producers and landowners an opportunity to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “This program encourages conservation on sensitive lands or low-yielding acres, which provides tremendous benefits for stewardship of our natural resources and wildlife.”
Purdue Extension News
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) Uses for Your Farm Webinar Sponsored by the Purdue Women in Agriculture Team 
January 27, 2021
12:30 – 1:30 PM EST
Presented by: Crystal Van Pelt
& Bill Horan with Purdue Extension
 Free Webinar!
Register at: https://tinyurl.com/WIAWebinar  
Unmanned aerial vehicles – better known as UAVs or drones – are transforming agriculture. Images from UAVs will track changes in crops over time. There are many other uses for UAVs that may be beneficial for farm owners/operators including monitoring animals and viewing structures / property improvements. During this webinar, Purdue Ag & Natural Resources Extension Educators, Crystal Van Pelt and Bill Horan, will share basic tips for utilizing for utilizing UAVs in your farming operations. If you can’t view the webinar live, please consider registering to receive a link to the recording.
National Day of Service, Jan. 18
On Jan. 18, help celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking on the 5 gallon challenge at any DNR property across the state.
Bring a small bag or bucket to a DNR property and pick up trash as you enjoy your visit. Your small act of kindness will help keep public lands and waterways healthy and beautiful for people and wildlife. Find a property to visit on Jan. 18 at on.IN.gov/recfinder.
If you post a picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, tag Indiana DNR and use #bucketINtrashOUT to share your good work.
Educational Resources Available for Living with Wildlife
While many animals slow down during the winter months, some are becoming increasingly active. Coyote sightings are more common during wintertime, and other wildlife will be looking for warm places to seek shelter and feed.

Individuals interested in learning more about living with wildlife, whether their intention is to dissuade wild animals from their backyard or invite them in, are encouraged to check out recorded webinars with DNR’s urban biologists.
Congratulations to Indiana DNR Receiving Two Awards
Indiana DNR was recently awarded by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and the Midwest Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA). DNR received the State Agency of the Year Award by CSF for its work hosting the first Legislative Rendezvous at Atterbury Fish & Wildlife Area. DNR Fish & Wildlife received the Excellence in Conservation Award from MAFWA for activities including installing native plant habitat at Wendell Phillips School 63 in Indianapolis, a project funded through a partnership with the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation and Reconnecting to Our Waterways.
Other News

Indiana Envirothon
PP's Year in Review and Pollinator-Friendly Resolutions
Nominate a Master Farmer Candidate
Indiana Master Farmer nominations are due Feb. 15. Who should you nominate?
Tom J Bechman | Dec 01, 2020
Who nominates people to become Master Farmers? It’s a frequently asked question. The answer? It can be anyone — except someone directly connected to Indiana Prairie Farmer. The nomination can come from a neighbor, relative, landowner, Extension educator, or two or more of those people working together. That’s how every Master Farmer is nominated — by someone who thinks highly enough of a person or a family to put in the effort it takes to submit a successful nomination.
Job Postings:
View this job opportunity below and others on the 
  • Resource Conservationist, Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District. Deadline to apply is January 13
Note: Job Postings can be submitted to Amy Work at: amy-work@iaswcd.org . Please include job description and deadline to apply in a single PDF file or with a link.
Upcoming Conservation Events:
For a complete list of upcoming conservation events, go to the Events Calendar on the IASWCD website.*
*Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, events are changing daily. Please check the individual hosting organization's website and/or Facebook page for the latest information on cancellations and reschedule dates. Thank you.