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Conservation INsight
September 2, 2020
Happy September!
IASWCD Resolution Submissions - due September 16
Districts - if you would like to submit a resolution for consideration, please fill out this Google Form. Resolutions are due to the IASWCD office by Friday, September 16, 2020.
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Indiana Conservation Award Submissions - due September 18
Applications for Indiana Conservation Awards: Friend of Conservation, Supervisor of the Year and Conservation Farmer of the Year are now open on the IASWCD Awards page. Nominations due by September 18.
Training Needs Assessment Survey for All ICP Staff
The Indiana Conservation Partnership Training committee has created a survey to help determine the highest priority training needs among all Indiana partnership employees. The information gathered in this assessment helps direct future training topics facilitated by several partner organizations. ICP Staff - please take the time to fill out the survey, ranking the topics as agreed upon within your district guidance (i.e. directed by your supervisors and/or part of your employee training plan, etc.). Deadline: September 4.
Special thanks to the following 75 Indiana Districts who have paid annual membership dues to IASWCD:
(as of 8-26-20)
NGLI Provides COVID-19 Program Update
The National Conservation Foundation (NCF)'s Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI) has adapted to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic to best serve the inaugural cohort. The program has recently shifted plans so that the current seven members are able to continue with in-person trainings during 2021, after the cancellation of three 2020 sessions, originally planned in the comprehensive curriculum. Due to this shift, the program organizers anticipate that applications for the next cohort will be announced in the Spring of 2021.
NACD Forestry RPG Webinar Series Now Available Online
The NACD Forestry Resource Policy Group (RPG) hosted a series of seven Zoom discussions on August 11. Each 50-minute session covered a different topic relevant to conservation district forestry professionals. All seven webinars can now be viewed on the NACD website.
Summer 2020 Edition of NACD's The Resource
This edition includes updates on NACD and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)’s Technical Assistance Grants; recaps of the virtual Summer Board Meeting, virtual Forestry Resource Policy Group (RPG) webinars, and the #DistrictsConserveCoasts campaign; as well as an in-depth look at how Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is helping communities in southern California. This edition also includes several profiles on how conservation districts are adapting their programs in light of COVID-19 (coronavirus). 
Agriculture Photo Contest Winners Honored at Statehouse
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 20, 2020) — The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced the ten winning photographers for the 2020 Indiana Agriculture Photo ContestLt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and ISDA Director Bruce Kettler recognized the winners during the 2020 Celebration of Agriculture event at the Indiana Statehouse. “From rural life to agricultural landscapes, these photographers were able to capture the essence of Indiana agriculture,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “I look forward to showcasing their photos this year.”
ISDA Monthly Newsletter: Indiana Agriculture Insider
NRCS Invests $650,000 to Improve Water Quality in Indiana
Indianapolis, IN, August 20, 2020– Indiana State Conservationist Jerry Raynor is pleased to announce that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest over $650,000 in new projects this year targeting high priority watersheds throughout the state. These projects are funded through NRCS’ Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) and National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), both which use Farm Bill conservation programs to encourage farmers to adopt conservation systems to improve water quality. “By targeting small priority watersheds, we are helping farmers to deliver local water quality benefits that contribute to large-scale improvements for the basin as a whole,” Raynor said. “Water quality is important to everyone and the many partnerships created through these initiatives are promising to the future health of these watersheds.”
View the NRCS Operational Status Update and Mask Policy During Covid-19
RCPP Indiana Q&A Session on Sept 11
Jill Reinhart, Assistant State Conservationist, Partnerships, with USDA-NRCS will be hosting a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) question and answer session September 11 from 11 am to 12:30 pm (EST) for partners considering applying for RCPP this year before the November 4 deadline. If interested in this Q&A, please contact Jill (jill.reinhart@usda.gov) for the Microsoft Teams session invitation. 
USDA Announces First-Ever Recipients of Urban Agriculture Grants and Cooperative Agreements
WASHINGTON, August 25, 2020 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the selection of recipients for about $4.1 million in grants and cooperative agreements through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. These are the first-ever recipients of these grants and cooperative agreements. “As the People’s Department, USDA supports and strengthens all types of agriculture, including the work being done by urban farmers and community gardeners,” Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said.
USDA Updates Determination Process for Conservation Provisions to Highly Erodible Land and Wetlands 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its final rule on determining whether land is considered highly erodible or a wetland, integrating input from the public and making updates in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill. This final rule follows a focused effort by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve consistency and use of science in making determinations.
MyDNR: Indiana's Outdoor News
Division of Fish & Wildlife: Wild Bulletin
Other News
S.T.A.R. Releases Annual Report
Saving Tomorrow's Agriculture Resources, otherwise known as S.T.A.R., was developed by the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District (Illinois) in 2017. S.T.A.R. is an innovative conservation program that helps farmers and landowners track how well they are caring for soil and water while producing crops, via the free, handy S.T.A.R. field evaluation tool. Last week, the S.T.A.R. initiative announced the release of its first Annual Report for the 2019 crop year. This report provides an overview of S.T.A.R., and documents the program's expansion and impact and the benefits of transforming in-field practices into metrics that are useful to a diversity of audiences.
Funding Opportunity: EPA's Farmer to Farmer Grants Request for Applications is Open
The EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Division is pleased to announce the availability of a new Farmer to Farmer funding opportunity. An estimated $10 million dollars will be used to fund innovative practices approaches within farming communities, measure the results of those practices, and identify how the practices will be incorporated into farming operations. Due: October 16, 2020.
NCPP Now Accepting Applications for HHB Award
Applications are now open for the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP)'s Hugh Hammond Bennett (HHB) Award for Conservation Excellence. The award was created in 2017 to honor the legacy of Hugh Hammond Bennett by recognizing producers and conservation planners from within the NCPP partnership who have exemplified outstanding service through development and implementation of sound conservation planning and other conservation techniques.
USFS Seeking CFP Applications
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is now seeking applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program or CFP). The CFP is a competitive grant program, where local governments, qualified nonprofit organizations and federally-recognized Indian tribes are eligible to apply for grants to establish community forests that provide community benefits through fee simple acquisition of private forest land.
Job Postings:
Current list of Conservation Job Opportunities are 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 :
  • September 4 - ICP Survey closes
  • September 16 -Resolutions due
  • September 17 - Women's Learning Circle, Wabash & Miami Co.
  • September 18 - Deadline for Indiana Conservation Award applications

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.