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Conservation INsight
May 13, 2020
Nominations now being accepted for the  2020   River Friendly Farmer Award
Each county Soil and Water Conservation District may nominate up to two farmers who are doing 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.  Visit the IASWCD website  for nomination forms and more information.  Deadline to submit nominations and the required signature page: June 12, 2020.
May 12 ICP Webinar Held & Recorded
Special thanks to the ICP Leaders who presented and the over 200 participants who attended the first Zoom ICP Webinar! This webinar was recorded and you may view it on the ICP website now.
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CCSI-SARE Core Trainings
Core Cover Crops / Soil Health have been merged and will be presented as a series of three on-line sessions to be held on May 21, May 28, and June 4. The CCSI-SARE Core Trainings provide a foundation for understanding how cover crops and sustainable/regenerative cropping  systems  can be incorporated into Midwestern farming operations. The key principles and tools presented in these trainings provide the base upon which more advanced soil health knowledge and skills can be built – including applications across a wide variety of crops and farm sizes.
NACD Summer Meeting Canceled
NACD has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Meeting, scheduled for July 18-21, 2020 in Bismarck, N.D., in light of ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
2019 NCF Annual Report Now Available
NACD is excited to announce that the National Conservation Foundation's (NCF)  2019 Annual Report  is officially here. In it you will read about a successful NCF-Envirothon (page 21) and the launch of the Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI) program (page 11). NCF is proud to continue its mission in developing the next generation of conservation leaders and supporting conservation work across the country through its programs and partnerships.
May U&C Webinar Focuses on Stormwater Management
The next NACD Urban and Community (U&C) Conservation webinar, scheduled for  12:00-1:00 p.m. Eastern  on  May 21, 2020 , will explore ways conservation districts are tackling stormwater management. These popular webinars, held on the third Thursday of each month, are sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation in partnership with the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group. There is no cost to participate, but space is limited. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
NACD Pollinator Field Day Curriculum Guide:
Pollinator Picnic Activity

Nominations Being Accepted for the 2020 U.S. Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award
The Pollinator Partnership (P2) and NACD are still seeking submissions for its 2020 U.S. Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award. The U.S. Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award recognizes the unique contributions that members of the agricultural community make to pollinators where they are needed most: supporting our food supply. To learn more and submit a nomination form, please visit  P2's website . Nominations are due  Friday, July 10 .
NACD Announces 2021 Stewardship Theme
The NACD Stewardship and Education Committee is excited to announce the release of the 2021 Poster Contest and Stewardship Week theme: “ Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities .” Trees and forests are critical in providing clean air and water, healthy soil, abundant wildlife habitat and valuable resources we use every day. Rules, entry forms and other resources for the 2021 NACD Poster Contest will be available for download later this summer. The 66th Annual Stewardship Week will take place April 25-May 2, 2021.
USDA Announces $15 million for Conservation Innovation Grants
NRCS announced today a $15 million investment through the Conservation Innovation Grants program to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands. CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving solutions that boost production on farms, ranches and private forests and improve natural resources. This year’s priorities are water reuse, water quality, air quality, energy and wildlife habitat.
NRCS Announces $5 Million for Wetland Mitigation Banks
NRCS is announcing $5 million for Wetland Mitigation Banks to help conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs. “Wetlands are critically important to the health of our natural resources -- filtering water, reducing soil loss and providing habitat to our nation’s wildlife while also helping to sequester carbon from the atmosphere,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “Through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, we’re working with experienced wetland mitigation partners to give farmers another option to meet Farm Bill requirements.”
The Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Holds Public Teleconference
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement announces that a public teleconference of the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (ACBFR) will be held to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on beginning farmers and ranchers. The public conference call will be held on May 19, 2020 at 2:00 - 4:00 EDT. 
USDA Grants Available for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
$3 million in competitive grants is available for urban agriculture and innovative production projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight July 6, 2020.
USDA Forest Service 2020 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Request for Applications (RFA)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service anticipates that up to $4.2 million in new funds will be available for tree planting and forest health improvement in the Great Lakes Basin through the GLRI. This funding will be awarded to the highest ranked proposals received through the  June 26, 2020  deadline at  Grants.gov . Search for Grant Opportunity Number  USDA-FS-2020-GLRI .
Funds will be distributed across four program areas:
  • Forest Insect and Disease Mitigation
  • Reduce Runoff from Degraded Sites through Green Infrastructure
  • Protect and Restore Coastal Wetlands through Healthy Tree Cover
  • Restore Resilient Riparian and Shoreline Forests
Purdue and NRCS Seeking Interviews with Producers on EQIP Cover Crops Experience
In partnership with NRCS, researchers at Purdue University are seeking phone interviews with producers whose EQIP contracts for cover crops have ended in the last three years. They want to understand if money spent to promote cover crops leads to long-term use. They are seeking your thoughts about cover crops and your decision to continue or discontinue using cover crops after payments ended. Phone interviews will last around 30 minutes to an hour and can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you. Your input will help NRCS understand the role of these programs in supporting long-term cover crop use and will help in making these programs better suited to farmers’ needs.
They are seeking row-crop producers from the following counties: Adams, Benton, DeKalb, Delaware, Knox, Madison, Pike, Randolph, and Warren. Eligible producers should have received a letter from NRCS in March. To participate in this study, please call or text Michelle Hemler, Research Associate, at 765-771-0100 or you may fill out a 5-question survey at https://tinyurl.com/covercrops2020
USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction
WASHINGTON, On May 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The cooperative agreements will support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The agreements are offered through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
USDA’s New CRP Pilot Program Offers Longer-Term Conservation Benefits
 Indianapolis, Indiana, April 29, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will open signup this summer for CLEAR30, a new pilot program that offers farmers and landowners an opportunity to enroll in a 30-year Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract. This pilot is available to farmers and landowners with expiring water-quality practice CRP contracts in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay regions. The program signup period is July 6 to Aug. 21, 2020. “This pilot allows us to work with farmers and landowners to maintain conservation practices for 30 years, underscoring farmers’ commitments to sound long term conservation stewardship on agricultural land,” said Indiana State Director, Steven Brown. “Through CLEAR30, we can decrease erosion, improve water quality and increase wildlife habitat on a much longer-term basis. We want to share this opportunity early, before the sign up period, so farmers and landowners have more time to consider if CLEAR30 or another program is right for their operation.”
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Bulletin
My DNR eNewsletter
Other News
Applications being Accepted for the Charles Deam Forest Stewardship Award In appreciation of Charles Deam’s contribution toward many of the forestry programs and information that we now enjoy, the Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association sponsors the Charles Deam Forest Stewardship Award contest which seeks annually to find the forest landowners who are demonstrating exceptional management of their forest resources. The deadline for applications is June 15 th .
OpTIS: New Data Drives Conservation Solutions
Conservation Technology Information Center and OpTIS
CTIC has partnered with  Applied GeoSolutions  and  The Nature Conservancy  on the development, testing and application of the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), an automated system to map tillage, residue cover, winter cover, and soil health practices using remote sensing data. While OpTIS calculations are performed at the farm-field scale using publicly available data, the privacy of individual producers is fully protected by reporting only spatially-aggregated results at regional and watershed scales. OpTIS-based data are currently available for the years 2005 through 2018 for the US Corn Belt, including all of Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, as well as parts of: Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Job Postings  :
Current list of Conservation Job Opportunities now posted on the  IASWCD website.
  • Urban Conservationist, Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Resource Specialist, Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation Districts
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:

May 25 - Memorial Day
June 12 - River Friendly Farmer Award Applications due 
August 7-23 - Indiana State Fair
August 19 - River Friendly Farmer Awards Ceremony
October 5-8 - IDEA Fall Conference, Muncie, IN

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.