Newsletter Highlights:
  • 2019 Summer Conference & BOD Meeting
  • Guns "Plus" Raffle
  • 2019 AACD Stock Sale
  • The Plight of the Monarch
  • Farm Bill offers more conservation tools in EQUIP
  • USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standars
  • AACD Membership
  • Beginning Rancher Workshop
Arizona Association of Conservation Districts
April 2019 Newsletter
SAVE THE DATE!
2019 AACD Summer Conference and Board of Directors Meeting

July 9-11, 2019

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Lookout for meeting details to follow newsletter!
IMPORTANT MESSAGE!
A little rain and snow makes everyone feel a little better.  With the early spring moisture that has fallen upon us throughout the state, people are a little less stressed about what the beginning of the year has in store for us. However, spring rains don’t come without issues. Pesky weeds, noxious plants, and flooding are the downside of an otherwise bright year. I am looking forward to hearing all of the positive things that are happening this year at the summer conference where everyone will have a chance to catch up. 

Arizona Association of Conservation Districts is looking forward to some outstanding things that this year will bring too. AACD is working with the NRCS, WPF, BLM and the University of Arizona to help with education, training, programmatic SHPO and helping producers get projects on the ground through grants and agreements. We are working with our supporters in the Legislature to see that funding for Districts continues (and hopefully increases) and that the WPF program receives funds for grants to get projects on the ground to improve watersheds. 

Your AACD elected representatives also made a strong showing at the national level. We attended the NACD annual conference and helped with important policy on invasive species. At the NACD Washington DC Spring Fly-In, Mark Kuechel, Keisha Tatem and myself were able to meet with Congressman Gosar, and Senator Sinema to let them and their staff know that Districts are doing great conservation work in Arizona. They were impressed by our work with Federal agencies to put together matching funds for watershed improvement. Even though our time there was short, we managed to get our message across and left them with packets of information developed by the AACD. But wait there is more…. We have been selling tickets for our raffle in our fundraising efforts of the year. With the help of C-A-L Ranch Stores we were able to put together prizes for 30 days of winners in the month of June. There are only 500 tickets available, and if a ticket is drawn it is thrown back in to win again. So, seek out AACD Executive Committee members to find out more information and get a ticket. Also, Shelly Blackmore your AACD Secretary has been working hard with our local auctions and stockyards developing a fundraising effort for conservation. We really appreciate all the support that Richard Smyers, Clay Parsons and Sonny Shore have given producers everywhere and in AACDs efforts. Details for both of these great opportunities are in the newsletter so be sure to read on.

Our summer convention is set for July 9-11 in Flagstaff. We are working to have an informative program to bring our members up to date on the many successful programs in progress around Arizona and the steps to success. It should be a great meeting and we look forward to seeing you there.

Frank Krentz, President
GUNS "PLUS" RAFFLE
JUNE 2019!
Purchase your ticket today!
ATTENTION RANCHERS!
2019 AACD "STOCK SALE"
SUPPORT CONSERVATION EFFORTS IN YOUR AREA!

The Arizona Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) is pleased to announce a combined fundraising event supporting conservation efforts. Prescott and Willcox Livestock Auctions and Marana Stockyards are working with Natural Resource Conservation Districts (NRCDs) across the state in a stock sale donation event. Anytime during the month of May, ranchers may donate any animal or the average per head price of a load to the stock sale and the proceeds will benefit Conservation Districts. As you arrive at the auction or stockyard please let them know you would like to donate to the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts and the sale yard will take care of the rest. What do your Natural Resource Conservation Districts bring to Arizona? Arizona’s Conservation Districts have facilitated over $28 million dollars’ worth of EQIP and grant contracts annually over the last 10 years into conservation projects on the ground. Those contracts helped increase the local economy because the vast majority of the suppliers for those contracts were local businesses. Please consider donating any animal(s) to support conservation efforts in Arizona. The AACD is a non-profit organization so 100% of the money from this sale is tax deductible! Arizona’s NRCDs greatly appreciate the support of Richard Smyers, Sony Shores and Clay Parsons in helping producers get conservation practices on the ground.

 If you have any questions or would like a donation letter, please email  deborrah.smith@aacd1944.com or call (830) 719-5372. Thank you for your support! 
The Plight of the Monarch
The black and orange monarch butterfly is one of the most well-known butterflies in North America. Fluttering from flower to flower, this butterfly has a migration that surpasses that of caribou and humpback whales, with some flying more than 3,000 miles in an epic journey from southern Canada to reach overwintering grounds in central Mexico and coastal California. 
When winter subsides, monarchs turn their attention north. On their northward trek through spring and summer, these brightly colored butterflies survive for only two to six weeks as, over multiple generations, they fly toward the northern-most portion of their range. Come fall, a spectacular biological adaptation occurs: a super-generation of monarchs is born. 

This autumnal generation of monarchs carry the success of the species on their wings. To pass on their lineage, they must migrate to the overwintering grounds of their ancestors, survive the harshest time of year, and breed the following spring. This is no small feat for an insect weighing less than a paperclip. In order to conserve energy, these fall monarchs are born reproductively immature, a biological adaptations that scientists refer to as reproductive diapause. This adaptation allows the super-generation of monarchs to live eight times longer than their parents or grandparents. They do, after all, travel an immense distance.
The United States is home to two populations of monarchs. Although the two populations are genetically identical, they differ in location and migration pattern. Eastern monarchs inhabit states east of the Rocky Mountains and embark on the incredible journey to overwinter in central Mexico each fall. These monarchs make up the largest proportion of monarchs in North America. Western monarchs occur west of the Rocky Mountains and generally overwinter on the coast of California. Arizona is one of the few places scientists have documented monarchs migrating to both California and Mexico thereby providing an important place for genetic mixing between the two populations. 
Unfortunately, both the eastern and western monarch populations have seen dramatic declines. Since the mid-1990s eastern monarchs have declined by more than 80 percent. The western monarchs have fared even worse. Since the 1980s, the western monarch population has declined by a staggering 99.4 percent and currently consists of less than 30,000 monarchs.  

The declines are not due to any one factor, but rather the result of death by a thousand cuts. Insecticides and herbicides, especially neonicotinoids and glyphosate, are linked to monarch declines through direct deaths of monarchs as well as loss of milkweed, the monarch butterfly’s host plant. Declines in flowering plants during migration also contribute to these declines. Overwintering habitat is being lost to illegal logging in Mexico and development and inappropriate tree management in California. Monarchs are also susceptible to diseases and parasites—some of which may be on the rise— such as the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha , called OE for short.

We have an opportunity to help monarch butterfly populations rebound for future generations to enjoy, not only for the species’ unique place in the ecosystem, but also because helping the monarch will also help other pollinators across the nation. Pollinators help produce 75 perfect of our flowering plants and nearly 75 percent of our crops. One out of every three bites of food we take is thanks to a pollinator and without them, we would miss many fruits, vegetables, and nuts that we enjoy. 
I n 2017, partners from the western states came together and developed the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan. Released in January 2019, this plan specifies a path forward and includes specific recommendations for working lands. Agricultural producers can contribute by promoting a diversified landscape to provide critical habitat for monarchs throughout their life cycle. 
Research has found that conserving wild pollinators in habitats adjacent to agriculture improves both the level and stability of pollination, leading to increased yields and income. W orking lands provide a variety of pollinator habitat including flowers and milkweeds. Nectar sources, including many flowering crops themselves as well as wild and “weedy” species, provide food for adult monarchs and other pollinators. Milkweed can grow along field borders and provides habitat for monarch caterpillars and adults. 

Careful planning and application of herbicide and insecticides can dramatically improve the monarch butterfly’s chance for survival. Reducing or eliminating the use of neonicotinoid pesticides or altering the timing of application can reduce unintended butterfly and bee deaths. Careful applications of glyphosate can preserve breeding habitat by eliminating unintended spraying of milkweed. 

To learn more and to get involved, please email Rachel Williams at rachel_e_williams@fws.gov to join our Arizona monarch group or reach out to your local Conservation District or NRCS office for assistance in implementing conservation practices to improve pollinator habitat. Monarchs are one of the species included in NRCS’s Working Lands for Wildlife Program and projects may qualify for financial assistance.

Help create a future filled with monarchs or future generations to enjoy. Every little bit helps!
Farm Bill Offers More Conservation Tools in EQUIP
By Ed Maixner
03/20/19
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will soon emerge more fully equipped, so to say, for a broader spectrum of farm conservation assistance as USDA implements 2018 farm bill program changes in the year ahead. In comments to USDA, the National Association of Conservation Districts said the incentive contracts would “allow producers to implement a suite of practices by offering annual payments rather than cost share without having to meet the more rigorous eligibility standards required" by the Conservation Stewardship Program.

USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standard
Media Inquiries: FPAC.BC.Press@usda.gov
 
USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standards
 
March 11, 2019, WASHINGTON – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today it is seeking public input on its existing national conservation practice standards as part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill. NRCS offers 150-plus conservation practices to America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them meet their business and natural resource needs on their working lands.
 
“With the help of NRCS, agricultural producers across the country are taking voluntary steps to improve their operations while benefiting natural resources,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “As part of our process of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, we are asking agricultural producers, conservation partners and others to provide feedback on our practice standards in an effort to refine and enhance them.”
 
NRCS is requesting public comments on how to improve conservation practice standards that support programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, which help producers cover part of the costs for implementing these practices. The comment period ends April 25, 2019. More information can be found in the Federal Register .
 
These standards provide guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices.
 
2018 Farm Bill
 
As part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, NRCS is reviewing conservation practices by:
 
  • Evaluating opportunities to increase flexibility while ensuring natural resource benefits.
  • Seeking avenues for the optimal balance between meeting site-specific conservation needs and minimizing risks of design failure and associated construction and installation costs.
  • Ensuring, to the maximum extent practicable, the completeness and relevance of the standards to local agricultural, forestry and natural resource needs, including specialty crops, native and managed pollinators, bioenergy crop production, forestry and others.

Providing Comments
 
Comments may be submitted using any of the following methods:
 
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov . Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attention: National Environmental Engineer, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6130-S, Washington, DC 20250.
 
NRCS will use comments as part of updating standards. For more information on how NRCS is implementing the Farm Bill, visit farmers.gov/farmbill .
 
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Become an AACD Member!
AACD Associate Membership

Associate Membership is open to any individual, company, institution, agency, or organization interested in supporting and promoting natural resource conservation efforts in Arizona. 

The Associate Membership is designed for businesses and organizations that support the conservation efforts of Arizona’s farmer and ranchers. Those who support Conservation District partnership efforts with private organizations, local governments, state, tribal and federal agencies and those who care about water conservation, healthy forests and grasslands, and wildlife habitat.

Associate Member Benefits 
 
An Associate Membership in AACD connects you with 42 Local Conservation Districts and Education Centers across Arizona. 

·     Conservation Leadership Level (5,000)- Trade show booth at our Summer Conference, two free registrations and opportunity for a five minute presentation, Arizona Conservation District updates, up to 3”x4”add space and or logo included on our AACD monthly newsletters, logo and contact information included on our website, recognition in our Annual Conservation Report that goes out to cooperators, federal, state, and local entities, etc. 

·     Conservation Champion Level (2,500)- One free registrations at our Summer Conference, monthly Arizona Conservation District updates, logo included in our AACD monthly newsletter, logo and contact information included on our website, recognition in our Annual Conservation Report that goes out to cooperators, federal, state, and local entities, etc. 

·     Conservation Stewardship Level (1,500)- AACD Monthly newsletter, logo and contact information included on our monthly newsletter and website, recognition in our Annual Conservation Report that goes out to cooperators, federal, state, and local entities, etc. 
THANK YOU MAID RITE FEEDS FOR YOUR CONSERVATION LEADERSHIP MEMBERSHIP!

Contact:
Billy Thompson
(520) 384-4688
email: maidritefeeds.com
Beginning Rancher
&
Arizona Ranchers of Tomorrow Workshops
SAVE THE DATE!

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (less than 10 years), please mark your calendars for dates/locations that have been solidified for Central AZ Beginning Rancher or Beginning Ranchers of Tomorrow educational events as follows:

April 30
(Tuesday), Apache Gold Casino, San Carlos, AZ

August 27
(Tuesday), Payson, AZ area

December 5
(Thursday), Whiteriver, AZ area

Questions?
Contact: Brooke Gladden
(520) 668-3349
brooke.gladden@aacd1944.com
Arizona Association
of Conservation Districts
P.O. Box 50518
Phoenix, AZ 85076

www.aacd1944.com
Have a story you would like to share in our next newsletter?

Contact: Brooke Gladden (Phelps)
aacdphelps@gmail.com
(520) 668-3348
"To support Conservation Districts in providing conservation leadership and education to address local conservation priorities in partnership with landowners, federal and state agencies, tribal & local governments and other partners"