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Conservation INsight
March 16, 2022
Call for Presentations for the 2023 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs
Each year, the Annual SWCD Conference offers a unique learning and training opportunity for Indiana's Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors, Staff, and Conservation Partners. We 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.

2023 Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts Annual Conference
January 9-10, 2023
The Westin Indianapolis, 241 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Abstracts for consideration should be submitted by April 1, 2022 via the link below (preferred) or you can email them to Joe Schmees at joseph-schmees@iaswcd.org. Please use the subject line “SWCD Abstract." 
April Lunch 'n Learns for Indiana SWCDs
Training for Indiana Soil & Water
Conservation Districts
Four Wednesdays in April at 12 noon (EDT), these one-hour Zoom sessions will include a presentation and time for discussion and Q&A. 
Please register for each session individually to receive the Zoom link. (These sessions will be recorded and posted on the IASWCD website.)

April 6: Resources to Assist Small Farm & Urban Customers - Presenter: Elli Blaine, Urban Soil Health Program Director.

April 13: Work Smarter Not Harder: Planning & Prioritizing Invasive ManagementPresenter: Emily Finch, SWCD Invasive Species Specialist, Dubois, Martin and Daviess.

April 20: Conservation 101 - Presenter: Chris Lee, Tech Team Leader, USDA-NRCS. 

April 27: Optimizing Field Day Impact and Attendee Experience - Presenters: Leslie Fisher, Resource Conservation Specialist, Benton County SWCD and Seth Harden, Upper Wabash River Project Director, TNC.
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Does your SWCD have a
cost share program that is not funded through currently reported state and federal programs?
ISDA Seeks to Elevate the Local Successes
of SWCDs
If your SWCD has a local cost share program, that was funded through a source other than those currently reported, we want to hear from you. Please fill out this survey (link below) about any locally funded cost share programs that were active in 2021.
This survey aims to establish a baseline of the SWCD programs that exist to better show the impact of conservation throughout the state. You can see the list of programs that ISDA currently collects data for in the ICP Funding Dashboard.
Webinar: Public Access Law Update
When: Mar 17, 2022 12:30 PM (EST)
Presenter: Luke Britt, Public Access Councilor
During this webinar, learn the requirements for board and annual meetings, and how things have changed during the COVID pandemic, and how they are different now with the public health emergency ended. You must register in advance using the link below to gain access to the meeting. We will be recording the webinar, and will post the recorded presentation shortly after on the IASWCD website.
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. Survey responses needed by March 31.
Thank you to the 50 county SWCDs below who have had at least one Supervisor participate in the *Supervisor Training Needs Survey:
St. Joseph
Indiana Black Loam Conference: Bloomington
Legacy Taste of the Garden LLC and their farming associates across the state of Indiana are in collaboration with the CCSI and NRCS in hosting these workshops.
The Bloomington event will be held Saturday, March 19 at the Banneker Community Center 930 W 7th St, Bloomington, IN 47404 from 8 am to 5 pm (EDT).
Urban Soil Health Program News
Urban Soil Health Program
Upcoming Events:
March 18th (virtual) - Pepper production and soil health in high tunnels.
  • Dr. Petrus Langenhoven, Professor, Purdue University.
  • Chris Adair – Purdue Student Farm Manager.
April 1st (virtual) - Farmer roundtable, on-the-ground conversation
  • Dan Perkins – Perkins’ Good Earth Farm (Jasper County)
  • Chris Adair – Purdue Student Farm Manager (Tippecanoe County)
  • Sara Creech – Blue Yonder Organic Farm (Hendricks County)
  • Ann Merritt - Joseph Decuis Farm (Huntington County)
  • Amber and Justin Miller- BroxonBerry Farm (Huntington County)
Join NACD'S Virtual Advocacy Training and Spring Fly-In
NACD’s 2022 Fly-In will be held virtually on Tuesday, March 22. Though traveling to Washington, D.C. will not be possible this spring due to ongoing concerns with COVID-19 and limitations on visiting Capitol Hill, it is still incredibly important that your members of Congress know the needs of locally-led conservation so conservation districts can receive adequate support to continue protecting our nation’s natural resources.
2022 IDEA Membership
Membership in the Indiana District Employee Association is now open for 2022.
SWCD Supervisor Directory
Annual meeting season is a great time to review your Supervisor information on Conservation Link's supervisory directory. The Supervisor directory is utilized by ISDA and the IASWCD to communicate and share pertinent conservation news and events, so please make sure all information is up to date. 
Internal Controls and Preventing Sexual Harassment Trainings
Please remember that all new staff and supervisors must complete the internal control training video, found on the State Board of Accounts webpage. Please see the link below for the internal controls training. In addition, contact your DSS for the Preventing Sexual Harassment training video. 
Need Data?
For data requests or printable pdf versions of CWI reports, etc, please send your requests to the link below.
INDIANAPOLIS, March 14, 2022 - A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report shows use of no-till, crop rotations, more efficient irrigation methods and advanced technologies have climbed in recent years.
The report from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) demonstrates progress made through voluntary conservation over a 10-year period. Findings from the report will inform future conservation strategies, including USDA’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
USDA to Extend Application Deadlines for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Funding Opportunity
Funding Opportunity Seeks to Pilot New Revenue Streams for America’s Climate-Smart Farmers, Ranchers and Forest Landowners
NEW ORLEANS, March 11, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadlines to apply for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity after requests from many stakeholders.
“There has been a high level of interest in the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity, and we want to ensure that a diverse applicant pool is able to apply,” said Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. “USDA is extending the deadline for the funding opportunity to provide more time for these applications.”
New Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture to Meet March 23-24
WASHINGTON, March 8, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host the first public meeting of the inaugural Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on March 23-24, 2022. The public – including urban producers– is encouraged to attend. “I look forward to working with this new urban agriculture federal advisory committee,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The committee's valuable insights and expertise will provide critical guidance to help us better serve urban agricultural producers, strengthen local food systems, and increase equity and access to healthy, local food.” 
USDA Announces $35 Million Funding Opportunity to Support Underserved and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced approximately $35 million in available funding to community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and tribal entities that help historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). The 2501 Program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE).
USDA Announces American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment to Benefit Underserved Farmers, Ranchers and Forest Landowners
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that it is accepting grant applications for the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Technical Assistance Investment Program to provide historically underserved farmers, ranchers and forest landowners technical support in accessing USDA programs and services. “This past year, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken bold and historic actions to level the playing field to ensure ALL Americans benefit from the many opportunities open to them,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Webinar: Regenerative Agriculture and Organic: Intersections and Differences
April 5 @ 3 pm Eastern
Conservation Practice Adoption and Motivations Survey (CPAMS) begins April 4 via NASS
CPAMS is a joint project between the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) and NRCS aimed at assessing the adoption rates of different conservation practices. NASS is sending questionnaires for crop practices and confined livestock practices in April 2022. Questionnaires for grazing practices and forestry practices will be sent in 2024.
Beginning April 4, 2022, farmers across the country will receive a letter from NASS with directions to complete their crop practices or confined livestock practices survey online (they will need the unique survey code to sign in which will be on the letter).
There are four different conservation categories which are surveyed: crop practices, grazing practices, confined livestock practices, and forestry practices. Each category will have a questionnaire that has been designed to gather information specific to the practices involved in each category. Survey data will be used to guide the implementation of NRCS programs in the future. The letter also states, “If we do not receive your completed survey by April 11, we may contact you to arrange a phone interview.”
Results from the CPAMS for crop practices and confined livestock practices will be available on the NASS website on September 15, 2022.
Request for Proposals: Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program
Ann Arbor, Mich. (March 3, 2022) – The Great Lakes Commission today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the 2022 Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program grant program.
For more than 30 years, the Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program has provided grants to reduce nutrients and sediments from entering the Great Lakes. This year’s program will continue to help local partners take action to reduce nutrient loads from agricultural watersheds, reduce untreated stormwater runoff, and restore shoreline and streambanks in the Great Lakes basin.
Through the program, nonfederal units of government, tribes, and incorporated nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive grants for up to $200,000, supporting work over a period of up to three years. Applicants are invited to submit proposals for activities associated with one of three project types: 1) agricultural nonpoint; 2) stormwater; and 3) Great Lakes shoreline or streambanks.
The due date for applications is 5:00 p.m. Eastern on April 22, 2022. Applications will be reviewed by representatives from the eight Great Lakes states, plus federal partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). Final decisions on funded projects are anticipated in summer 2022. Selected projects would begin work not later than October 1, 2022.
Purdue Extension News
Beginner's Guide to Grant Writing
Participants of this two-day Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing program learn how to write effective grant proposals and navigate the grant process. Both beginners and experienced grant writers learn to develop ideas into winning proposals, identify potential funders and understand the full proposal development, submission and review process.
Past participants have included staff and volunteers from local governments, nonprofits and educational organizations as well as members of community groups, clubs and concerned citizens who see a need in their communities that they want to help address.
April 13 and May 11 at 1202 East 38th Street, Discovery Hall, Suite 201, Indianapolis
Facilitative Leadership Workshop
This three-day class focuses on creating an inclusive culture of collaborative learning in teams, communities and organizations. It is for both new and experienced leaders, managers, facilitators and graduate students who would like to develop or improve their facilitation skills. It takes place at The Seasons Lodge in southeast Indiana. The workshop begins at 9:30 am on Day 1 and ends by 3:00 pm on Day 3. There are evening sessions on both the first and second days. The course also includes an introductory webinar.
IDNR: Division of Fish & Wildlife Newsletter
Other News
Healthy Farm, Healthy Communities Workshop
A farmer-focused workshop to develop working farm management solutions for improved agroecosystems, farm economies, and rural communities. This event will be held on March 23, 2022 at Hidden Hollow Farm near Crawfordsville, Indiana. Farmers who either currently are or considering practicing soil health, regenerative agriculture, or organic practices will get timely advice from expert farmers, researchers, and specialists.
Events & Education
We are seeking abstracts for symposia, oral presentations, and posters in three tracks:
  • Creating resilient agricultural systems
  • Adapting communities to extreme weather
  • Working in watersheds in times of climate change
Virtual and In-Person Spring Events
Findings from the Central Indiana Water Study
The Central Indiana Drinking Water Collaborative
A comprehensive study of water demand and availability in Central Indiana has determined a need for ongoing planning among water utilities as well as investments to ensure continued water supply for population growth and economic development. The Central Indiana Water Study, funded by the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA), was conducted with a targeted goal in mind: to assess the future demand and availability of Central Indiana’s water resources and propose solutions for water supply issues facing the region. Findings from the first-of-its-kind study have been summarized in a series of videos and other resources to help the public and public officials better understand our important water systems.
2022 Conservation Drainage Network Annual Meeting
The Conservation Drainage Network 2022 Annual Meeting is returning to an in-person event this April 6th – 8th at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne, IN. There is an online viewing option for those who are unable to attend in-person.
The annual meeting is a result of the volunteered work of the Conservation Drainage Network (CDN) members serving on subcommittees to drive the network forward and is being administered by the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC). The CDN is an international partnership with the goal of improving drainage practices to meet future demands of crop production while reducing adverse environmental impacts. The CDN meeting brings together a diverse set of stakeholders to learn about the latest in conservation drainage and implementation strategies while providing networking opportunities for future collaborations. 
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 16 - Capture the Credits Day, Elkhart Co
March 17 - SICIM Annual Partners Meeting
March 22 - Cover Crops Workshop, Boone Co
April 1 - Soil Health in High Tunnels Workshop
April 6 - IASWCD Lunch 'n Learn
April 13 - IASWCD Lunch 'n Learn
April 20 - IASWCD Lunch 'n Learn
April 27 - IASWCD Lunch 'n Learn

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.