Newsletter Highlights:
  • NACD 74th Annual Meeting
  • USDA Invites Input on Regional Conservation Partnership Program Rule
  • NRCS Job Opportunities
  • Winter Forage and Protein Supplementation in Arizona
  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Workshop Dates
Arizona Association of Conservation Districts
February 2020 Newsletter
NACD Annual Meeting Feb 8-12th
Arizona showed up at the NACD 74th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada! Arizona Association of Conservation District's (AACD) Executive Board Members Frank Krentz, Mark Kuechel, Bill Dunn, and Sadie Lister attended the conference as well as AACD Staff Deborrah Smith, Sharma Torrens, and Brooke Gladden. Sadie Lister (bottom left photo) speaking at a tribal panel break out session. Frank Krentz, Deborrah Smith, and Mark Kuechel (bottom right photo) were the last standing for the raffle ticket cash prize. Our own Mark Kuechel took home the $500 cash prize.
Washington State's Crowder Selected as NACD President- Elect
During the NACD Board of Directors meeting on February 11th, Board members elected  Michael Crowder  of West Richland, Washington, to serve as the Association's President-elect.

Mr. Crowder will serve a one-year term as President-elect alongside President Tim Palmer. He previously served as the organization's 1st Vice President and was elected to the NACD Officer team in 2017 as 2nd Vice President.

“Locally-led conservation is the backbone of conservation delivery,”  Crowder said . “It’s an honor to be selected by my fellow district officials to represent and advance conservation work at the national level for farmers, ranchers and my fellow conservationists.”

To learn more and read the rest of the press release, visit  NACD's Annual Meeting Newsroom .
USDA Invites Input on Regional Conservation Partnership Program Rule
NRCS is seeking public comments on the interim rule for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through April 13, 2020.
PHOENIX, Arizona - February 18, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which helps partners develop and implement unique conservation solutions that engage farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. The rule – available on the Federal Register – takes effect on publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.
“Through RCPP, we co-invest with partners to implement projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “We look forward to making available this improved, more flexible program to partners.”
The 2018 Farm Bill made RCPP a stand-alone program with its own dedicated funding, simplifying rules for partners and producers. Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill reduces the number of funding pools and emphasizes partner reporting of conservation outcomes.
The updated program also expands flexibility for alternative funding arrangements with partners and availability of watershed program authorities to projects outside critical conservation areas.
Submitting Comments
NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through April 13 on the  Federal Register . Electronic comments must be submitted through  under Docket ID  NRCS-2019-0012 . All written comments received will be publicly available on  as well.
NRCS will evaluate public comments to determine whether additional changes are needed. The agency plans on publishing a final rule following public comment review.
Applying for RCPP
Eligible partners include private industry, non-governmental organizations, Indian tribes, state and local governments, water districts and universities. Leveraging of NRCS funding is a key principle of RCPP. Partners are expected to make value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding.
NRCS will make available $300 million for projects in fiscal 2020. The agency anticipates making the first alternative funding arrangement (AFA) funding announcement in March, with the fiscal 2020 RCPP Classic announcement following in summer 2020. For more information,  visit the RCPP webpage .
For more information on RCPP in Arizona, contact your local  NRCS field office

Media Contact
(602) 280-8780
NRCS Job Opportunities in Arizona
Follow the link below for current job opportunities that are available with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) here in Arizona. NRCS is looking for local individuals that might be interested in joining their team. Arizona NRCS is asking agricultural and community partners to share these opportunities with your networks. These wonderful job positions are great opportunities to work with Arizona farmers and ranchers, addressing the natural resources concerns on their operation, and improving the soil, water, plant, animal, air, and energy resources in our state. If you know of anyone with an interest in working in agriculture and natural resources, please encourage them to apply.
Click the link below to view the Arizona positions: 
Winter Forage and Protein
Supplementation in Arizona
By: Sarah James
Rangeland Management Specialist for NRCS

Cows have various nutritional requirements throughout a cows yearly cycle resulting in their diets changing to best meet those demands. The pie chart shows the yearly cycle of cows andtheir nutritional requirements. The total digestible nutrients (TDN) refers to the sum of digestible fiber, protein, fats, and carbohydrates of a cows diet, while crude protein (CP) is the amount of all nitrogen in a diet. Remember that cows utilize microbes in their rumen to help them access more nutrients than what would be available to non-ruminants. When grasses are dormant, cows can have a hard time meeting their protein demands, especially if the grass dormancy aligns with calving because that is when they need protein the most. Inadequate protein amounts are known to affect birth weight, reproductive ability, forage intake and reduce overall body condition score.

More information on how cow diets affect reproduction can be found at
In Arizona, there are two rainy seasons: winter rains or snow and summer monsoons. However, in between these seasons forage goes dormant. This causes a decrease in quantity and quality of the forage. During this time, cows can struggle to meet her protein demands. There are many management decisions that can be made to help the cows. For instance a manager can save pastures that hold high amounts of winter forage. This could help to minimize the need for supplementation when the grass is dormant before winter rains. Some winter forage in Arizona include Indian rice grass,blue gramma, black gramma, hairy gramma, and winter fat. Black
and blue gramma grow mostly during the summer, however they both keep high nutrient amounts as they go dormant. Black gramma is particularly good at holding protein as it cures.

For more information on how to identify these species and manage these plant species please see the articles below.

Hairy Grama ( Bouteloua hirsuta ): 

Indian Ricegrass ( Oryzopsis hymenoides ):  

While these plant species are great during winter, but they still may not meet a cow’s demands. Therefore, it is also important to know when to supplement. New Mexico State University makes a simple flow chart to help make general decisions related to supplementation of feed or protein, which is depicted and can be accessed at

Arizona Cooperative Extension has a more in depth article which explains more on how much to supplement and can be found at: 
A general rule of thumb is that protein may need to be supplemented when forage protein is less than 7-6.25% because this is when forage intake can start to decrease. To find out exactly how much TDN and CP is available on the range,there are commercial labs that will test forage for you that are typically around $25.

Arizona Cooperative Extension provides a list called  Laboratories Conducting Soil, Plant, Feed or Water Testing  which can be found at: , or at your local Cooperative Extension office. Forage testing will allow for more exact supplementations amounts, but it should be noted that the amount of protein available will change throughout the year so the time of sam- pling is important. Further, according to Arizona Cooperative Extension, fecal samples can be tested by the Tex- as A&M University Grazingland Animal Nutrition Lab in Temple, TX (phone: 254-774-6134;  http:// , so long as less than 30% of the cows diet is browse.

There are a lot of factors to take into account when managing a cow herd especially on the range, but being pro- active and informed can help make best management decisions possible for each individual cow herd.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program
AACD Members

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P.O. Box 220
Willcox, AZ 85643
Office: (520) 384-4688
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Arizona Association
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Tucson, AZ 85710
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