IASWCD logo transparent
Conservation INsight
March 17, 2021
River Friendly Farmer Award Nominations Now Open!
Since 1999, key conservation and agricultural organizations have sponsored the River Friendly Farmer (RFF) Awards Program. Annually, each Indiana county Soil and Water Conservation District may nominate up to two farmers who do an outstanding job of protecting their rivers, lakes and streams through their every day conservation management practices on the farm. Watershed organizations also may nominate farmers for the award by submitting an application to a county SWCD. (Due June 10)
April 5 Deadline: Call for Abstracts for the 2022 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs
The Annual Conference of Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts offers a unique learning and training opportunity for SWCD Supervisors, Staff, and Conservation Partners (such as state and federal agency staff). We again anticipate over 350 attendees representing local/state/ regional/national organizations, public agencies, businesses and more. Oral presentations are invited to be considered on topics relating to three session tracks: On the Ground (conservation implementation/technical), District Management, and Outreach & Education.
Keeping in mind that the SWCD staff and supervisors are the primary audience, abstracts for presentations should address suggested topics within one of the identified session tracks. 
IASWCD logo transparent
Legislative Updates for Districts
Weekly updates can be found on the IASWCD website on the CWI page.
The Passing of Conservation Friends . . .
Diane Schmidt
Diane Schmidt, 67, of Hanna, Indiana passed away Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Diana was the wife of Gene Schmidt, past president of IASWCD and former NACD President and North Central Region leader. Gene has served many years as a conservation advocate at the state and national level and routinely participated with IASWCD in congressional visits during the NACD Fly-In in Washington D.C. Gene is also a great friend and advisor to many of us. Diane's obituary may be viewed here.
Timothy O. McConaha
Centerville, Ind. - Timothy O. McConaha, age 69, of Centerville, Indiana, died Friday, March 12, 2021, at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana, surrounded by his wife and children. Tim was well known for his infectious smile and laugh. He served on the Wayne County SWCD board as an associate member and board chair; and, he was named one of Indiana's 2017 Friend of Conservation Award recipients. Tim's obituary may be viewed here.
Recorded Trainings Now Posted on Site
The ICP February and March Virtual Trainings were recorded and some are now posted on the ICP website. If they are not posted yet, they are in the editing phase and will be posted soon.
  • Wetland Restoration Planning and Design, Part 1 (of 2), Feb. 11, 2021
  • Wetland Restoration Planning and Design, Part 2 (of 2), Feb. 18, 2021
  • Identification of Trees in Indiana, March 2, 2021
  • Identification of Shrubs in Indiana, March 4, 2021
  • Backyard Habitat Planning and Technical Assistance, March 5, 2021
Virtual Advocacy Week: March 22-26
Although Capitol Hill hasn’t allowed visitors into Congressional buildings since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress is still operating and considering policies that affect conservation. It is just as important as ever for your Members of Congress to know what your locally-led conservation needs are so that your districts can continue protecting our nation’s natural resources. Because we can’t do in-person meetings in Washington, D.C., we would like to encourage your state and conservation districts to instead conduct virtual advocacy meetings during the week of March 22, 2021. As in past years, individual states will be scheduling meetings with their Congressional delegation, though a representative from NACD may request to join to listen in.
NACD's D.C. Office Closed Until
June 2021
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, NACD’s Washington, D.C. office will be closed with staff teleworking through Monday, May 31.
U & C Webinars
The next NACD Urban and Community (U&C) Conservation webinar, scheduled for 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Eastern on March 18, 2021, will feature the work of two conservation districts and how they support community green spaces.
Longstanding farm families presented Hoosier Homestead Awards
INDIANAPOLIS (March 5, 2021) — Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler presented 51 Hoosier Homestead Awards to families today at the Indiana State Museum in recognition of their commitment to Indiana agriculture. To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years, and consist of 20 acres or more, or produce more than $1,000 in agricultural products per year.
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to 23 national conservation practice standards through a posting in the Federal Register. The proposed revisions were published March 9 with comments due April 8.
Indiana NRCS Celebrates Women in Ag
INDIANAPOLIS, March 10, 2021 (Morning Ag Clips) — March is National Women’s History Month throughout the United States. The annual observance started as a weeklong event in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter and was lengthened to the entire month of March starting in 1987. Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, which is observed March 8, offer the chance to honor the contributions of women and their ongoing impact on American society and the world.

Read NRCS District Conservationist and Federal Women’s Program Manager, Morgan Devine's article, entitled Powerhouse Women Conservationists of the SW Area in Indiana – The Power is in the Partnership
USDA Offers Conservation Stewardship Program Participants Renewal Options for Contracts Set to Close
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it is accepting Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) renewal applications through March 31 for over 11,000 contracts set to end this year. CSP is USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 90 million acres enrolled. “In fiscal year 2020, NRCS helped enhance over 74,000 acres of land enrolled in CSP in Indiana,” said Jerry Raynor, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conservationist. “CSP continues to prove its worth by helping farmers advance their business operations through conservation enhancements on their land that sustain the natural resources that improve productivity and their bottom lines.”
Indiana NRCS - Women in Agriculture
USDA Delays Signup for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is postponing the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands signup originally planned to start mid-March. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will announce new signup dates in the coming weeks, as the Administration is currently evaluating the program and ways to increase enrollment.
Indiana's Outdoor News
Indiana DNR – Division of Fish & Wildlife
Other News
June Pollinator Week Update and More
USDA Invests $285 Million to Improve National Forest and Grassland Infrastructure
WASHINGTON, March 8, 2021 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest $285 million to help the Forest Service address critical deferred maintenance and improve transportation and recreation infrastructure on national forests and grasslands. This $285 million investment is made possible by the newly created National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, established in 2020 by the Great American Outdoors Act. These funds will allow the Forest Service to implement more than 500 infrastructure improvement projects essential to the continued use and enjoyment of national forests and grasslands.
SICIM News Release
Public Invited to Annual Meeting on Invasive Species
The Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasive Management (SICIM) group is hosting its annual meeting virtually for 2021 on Thursday, March 25. The meeting will be on Zoom. The theme of this year’s meeting is Working Toward Resilience in an Uncertain World.
NFWF Announces RFP for 2021 National Coastal Resilience Fund
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is pleased to announce the 2021 National Coastal Resilience Fund Request for Proposals (RFP). NFWF will make investments in planning, design, and restoration of natural and nature-based solutions to help protect coastal communities from the impacts of storms, floods, and other natural hazards and enable them to recover more quickly and enhance habitats for fish and wildlife.
Culver's launches 7th annual FFA Essay Contest
One of the many ways that Culver’s supports FFA is through the annual FFA Essay Contest – which launched on Feb. 22, 2021, for its seventh year. Like past years, three winners will be chosen to receive funds for their FFA chapters in the totals of $7,500, $5,000, and $2,500. Because the pandemic has made it very difficult for FFA chapters to host their own fundraisers, the prize money will help the winning chapters pursue educational projects and initiatives that otherwise may have gone unfunded.
Click photo for more information
Job Postings :
Current list of Conservation Job Opportunities now posted on the IASWCD website.

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 :
March 18 - Conservation Focus Workshop, Wayne Co.
March 18 - CCSI SARE Training
March 24 - Cover Crops Workshop, Boone Co.
March 25 - SICIM Annual Meeting
March 25 - CCSI SARE Training
March 29 - SE & SW Regional CCSI Teleconferences
March 31 - NE & NW Regional CCSI Teleconferences
April 23 - Virtual Pond Clinic, Dearborn Co.
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.