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Conservation INsight
February 2, 2022
2022 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs: CONFERENCE EVALUATION
If you were able to attend the 79th Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs, please give us your feedback! We read every survey and look for trends in making the conference even better!
Thank you to all who could attend this year especially our Trade Show Exhibitors and 2022 Sponsors! You helped make our first year back at The Westin a success!
Legislative Visits for Indiana Districts
For the 2022 Indiana Legislative Session, the IASWCD is offering to help coordinate visits to the Statehouse through March. It is important that Districts meet with their local legislators to make our message of conservation heard, and teach them about your great work. A minimum of at least three people from a District must be committed to attend (any combination of Supervisors and/or Staff).
For SWCD Supervisors:
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts are evaluating training content and delivery methods to provide a better experience for SWCDs. The responses to this survey will help to inform future training opportunities for Supervisors. Supervisors, please fill out the survey at your earliest convenience.
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For Indiana SWCDs: Legislative Bill Tracker
IASWCD Executive Director, Joe Schmees, has been sending weekly legislative update emails to Indiana Soil & Water Conservation District Staff and Supervisors. These trackers keep Indiana Districts abreast of statehouse happenings during session. These updates are also posted on the iaswcd.org website on the CWI page.
Joe Schmees Appointed to Invasive Species Council by Governor Holcomb
On January 28, Governor Eric Holcomb announced several appointments to various state boards and commissions. Joe Schmees, Executive Director of the Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts, is one of two new appointments made to the Invasive Species Council and will serve until January 31, 2025.
Urban Soil Health Program

Urban Updates – February 8
Register for the next update call
9 – 10:30am Eastern
Learn about NACD's New Insurance Benefit for Members
NACD has launched a new webpage detailing the new NACD + Mercer insurance benefits program.
2022 IDEA Membership
Membership in the Indiana District Employee Association is now open for 2022.
Membership form and fees due March 31, 2022
Local Soil and Water Districts Awarded Nearly $800,000 for Water Quality Initiatives
INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 6, 2022) — The Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the State Soil Conservation Board awarded $789,825 in matching grant funds to 13 soil and water conservation districts and soil health organizations through the Clean Water Indiana program. Including the district’s matching contributions, a total of $1.6 million will be implemewnted to improve soil conservation and water quality initiatives. 
Clean Water Indiana (CWI) Update
The 2022 CWI program and individual grant summaries are now posted on the ISDA website.
Registration Open for Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives Mental Health Workshops
INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 31, 2022) — Untreated or ignored stress and mental health issues in rural areas impact quality of life, economic development and lives of farmers, the agriculture workforce and rural families. To raise awareness and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in the agriculture industry the Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives program was created by the Indiana Rural Health Association. Twenty-three free, one-day insightful workshops with subject matter experts will be conducted in 2022. The workshops will begin Feb. 10, 2022, in Mount Vernon, Ind. The series of workshops will continue in 22 other rural sites around Indiana through July.
January 4, 2022 - Jerry Raynor, State Conservationist for Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today they are continuing to accept applications to restore, protect and enhance wetlands throughout the state. Dollars are still available for private landowners and Indian tribes through the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) program. While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, February 28 will be the second-round application date to be considered for funding this year. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement.
January 10, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing several new and expanded opportunities for climate-smart agriculture in 2022. Updates include nationwide availability of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contracts option and added flexibilities for producers to easily re-enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). These improvements to NRCS’ working lands conservation programs, combined with continued program opportunities in Indiana, are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to support climate-smart agriculture.
Janaury 18, 2022 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced up to $225 million in available funding for conservation partners through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP is a partner-driven program that leverages collective resources to find solutions to address natural resource challenges on agricultural land. This year’s funding announcements include opportunities for projects that address climate change, benefit historically underserved producers and support urban agriculture. 
January 28, 2022 - Jerry Raynor, State Conservationist for Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced an extension of the application cutoff date for the Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Collaboration Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to September 30. 
USDA Invests $50 Million in Partnerships to Improve Equity in Conservation Programs, Address Climate Change
ATLANTA, January 10, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $50 million in 118 partnerships to expand access to conservation assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements, administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will fund two-year projects to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are new to farming, low income, socially disadvantaged or military veterans. Projects will support USDA’s broader effort to address climate change and equitable access to programs.
Feb. 2 Webinar: Connecting the Dots from Soil to Human Health
How does soil influence human health? This presentation will explore linkages between soil and human health through the framework of sustainable food systems. Evidence from the scientific literature will be provided of the influence of farm management on food composition and health outcomes. Highlighting efforts of the Periodic Table of Food Initiative, the presentation will conclude with challenges and opportunities for evaluating linkages between soil and human health.
Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program Extension
The Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) provides assistance for certified operations and transitional operations that incurred eligible expenses in fiscal years 2020, 2021, and/or 2022. This includes eligible certification expenses, eligible transitional expenses, educational event registration fees, and soil testing for micronutrient deficiencies. This new program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept OTECP applications for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 from November 8, 2021, through February 4, 2022. FSA extended the original signup deadline, which was January 7, 2022.
USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Signups for 2022
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2022 – Agricultural producers and landowners can sign up soon for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a cornerstone conservation program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a key tool in the Biden-Harris Administration effort to address climate change and achieve other natural resource benefits. The General CRP signup will run from Jan. 31 to March 11, and the Grassland CRP signup will run from April 4 to May 13. 
Purdue Extension News
2022 Small Farm Conference is Pivoting to Online Format
Since 2013, the Indiana Small Farm Conference has been the premier annual event for Indiana’s small- and diversified-farm community — helping them experience continuing education and enjoy farmer-to-farmer networking. The Indiana Small Farm Conference serves as the annual educational and farmer-to-farmer networking event for the Indiana small and diversified farm community.
Small Farm Conference Tracks: Register for Free Webinars
Free webinars from the Indiana Small Farm Conference are available by registration. If you are interested in the Indiana Small Farm Conference Tracks, during the month of March 2022, please register and invitations with Zoom links will be sent to those registered.
Other News
River Voices
Registration now Open for the 2022 River Rally
Check it out...River Rally is an annual event that keeps the national network of water protectors motivated, passionate, connected, and inspired. Who will you meet and be moved by in DC this June? Register early to get the best rates on registration and your hotel room.
Submission Deadline: February 16th - SWCS International Annual Conference
The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) invites the submission of workshops, oral presentations, symposia, and posters for the 77th SWCS International Annual Conference, taking place July 31-August 3, 2022, in Denver, Colorado.
Submission Deadline: February 16, 2022
Farmer-Led Conservation and Watershed Protection Mini-Grant Program
To help kickstart or expand farmer-led conservation demonstration efforts, Mississippi State University is sponsoring a mini-grant program to support nongovernmental organizations, state or county government agencies, university extension professionals, and others who support farmers in one or more of the 12 SERA-46/Hypoxia Task Force states in the Mississippi River Basin: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Qualified organizations must partner with an existing farmer or farmer-led organization. Awards will be up to $4,000 for one year. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 15, 2022.
Project Wingspan's Technical Training Workshop Recordings Are Now Available for Free On Demand Viewing!
The Project Wingspan team is thrilled to offer you this 5-part technical training series. The overarching goal of this workshop series is to increase the success of native habitat restoration and management efforts by offering land managers and stewards advanced educational support, recent findings from scientific field research, guidance on current best management practices, and practical solutions to ‘real-world’ habitat management obstacles.
Xerces - Newsletter
Indiana Black Loam Conference
In one of their efforts to help others build successful farming operations, the Jamerson’s are leading a coalition – The Indiana Black Loam Conference - to develop a pilot project to host workshops in Evansville, Gary, Bloomington, and Fort Wayne followed by a convention style event in Indianapolis. These events focus on the needs of underserved BIPOC farmers, producers and communities. 
NCF-Envirothon Diversity Enhancement and Underserved Audience Grants
The 2022 cycle of the Diversity Grant Application period is now open. The National Conservation Foundation (NCF), working in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), offers the Diversity Enhancement and Underserved Audience Grant program (aka Diversity Grants) to help state and provincial Envirothon programs expand the diversity of student participation. Closes: February 4, 2022 at 11:59pm EST
River Assessment Field Team (RAFT)
The River Assessment Field Teams (RAFTs) are individuals, family members, or small groups of friends, colleagues, or neighbors that are willing to donate time to help strategically assess local water quality. RAFT sampling events occur at least once a month on a Sunday from roughly 12:00-4:00. Each event will target one of three areas along the White River.
Sustain Our Great Lakes 2022 Funding Opportunity
The Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL) program is soliciting proposals to benefit fish, wildlife, habitat and water quality in the Great Lakes basin. The program will award approximately $11.2 million in grants in 2022 to improve and enhance: 1) stream, riparian and coastal habitats; 2) water quality in the Great Lakes and its tributaries, including a focal area within Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Watershed. The submission deadline for pre-proposals is February 25 2022.
Life Hacks over Lunch: A Meet-up Series for Watershed Professionals
This free, virtual meet-up series is a peer-learning opportunity for watershed professionals to share ideas and advice for solving real-life challenges of watershed projects.
If you work with farmers and communities on watershed-scale projects to improve water quality and have ever found yourself thinking, “I don’t want to recreate the wheel,” this meet-up series is for you.
Save the Date! Climate Intersections Conference July 12-14, 2022
The North Central Region Water Network is excited to announce that we are hosting a regional conference exploring the ways climate intersects with our lives, our water and our land July 12-14th in Duluth, Minnesota!
The Drop - newsletter
Featured Pledge: Septic Maintenance
Leaking septic systems allow some serious pollutants to contaminate our waterways, including harmful bacteria like E.coli and viruses. These pollutants pose a risk to human health, impact wildlife habitats, and can even hurt the fish industry. Make a difference today and click the button below to take the pledge to properly maintain your septic system!
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:
February 12-16 - NACD Annual Meeting
March 3-4 - Indiana Small Farm Conference
For a complete list of upcoming conservation events, go to the Events Calendar on the IASWCD website.*
*As more events begin to take place in person, please check the individual hosting organization's website and/or Facebook page for the latest information on locations, guidelines and details. Thank you.