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Conservation INsight
May 27, 2020
LAST CALL! Nominations for  2020   River Friendly Farmer Award accepted through June 12
Indiana SWCDs have until June 12 to submit a nomination to IASWCD. 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. 
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Virtual Training for Indiana District Staff and Supervisors
Hosted by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
A series of three Virtual Trainings on Tuesday evenings. August 25, September 1 and 8. Three different topics, one each week. More details to follow.
CCSI Regional Teleconferences
CCSI holds monthly teleconferences for conservation partners to receive updates and share ideas to increase the successful adoption of soil health practices on Indiana cropland. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, two of the calls will be moved to June 1.
  • NE Region: Wednesday, May 27th at 1:00 PM Eastern
  • NW Region: Wednesday, May 27th at 2:30 PM Eastern 
  • SE Region: Monday, June 1st at 1:00 PM Eastern
  • SW Region: Monday, June 1st at 2:30 PM Eastern
If you are interested in participating in these calls, please contact either  Sheila Schroeder,  CCSI Northern Program Manager, or  Jessica Hoehn , CCSI Southern Program Manager.
Pathway to Water Quality Volunteer Sign- Up begins June 1
The Indiana State Fair takes place August 7-23. Volunteer with fellow ICP partners to serve at the Pathway to Water Quality. Sign up begins at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 1. More information will be posted on the ICP website soon.

ICP Webinar Recording
In case you missed the May 12 ICP webinar, you can now view it on YouTube at the link included.
Sign Up for NACD's Daily Roundup
Looking for ways to get the most recent agriculture and conservation news? Sign up for NACD's Daily Roundup, a daily publication that provides the latest conservation updates and news. Roundup is available Monday through Thursday– log into your NACD account  or subscribe below.
NACD Submits Comments on RCPP Rule
WASHINGTON (May 14, 2020)  – Earlier this week, NACD submitted public comments to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on the interim Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) rule.
RCPP was first created in the 2014 Farm Bill, and conservation districts across the country have successfully applied for, partnered with and led a large portion of all projects since the program’s inception. The proposed RCPP rule implements changes Congress included in the 2018 Farm Bill. After receiving feedback from its members,  NACD advocated for several changes and revisions to the law  to ensure conservation districts and the locally-led conservation delivery process are prominent fixtures throughout the life of a project, from application to completion.
D.C. Office Closed Until June 8
NACD’s Washington, D.C. office will remain closed with staff teleworking until Monday, June 8 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
2020 IDEA Fall Conference Update
The IDEA Directors will be meeting late in June to discuss options regarding the annual IDEA Conference currently scheduled for October in Muncie, Indiana. Please be aware that if the conference proceeds as planned, the registration timeline will be shorter than usual.
Papers Published by the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Provide Evidence that USDA Conservation Practices Work
Research is showing that conservation practices are working to reduce runoff, improve soil quality, and mitigate contaminants in small watersheds across the country, according to USDA’s scientific findings published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and other USDA agencies collaborated with universities and organizations to complete the water-quality studies featured in the journal through USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP).
 “The scientific findings in this special issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation show that voluntary conservation programs work,” said Jerry Raynor, NRCS state conservationist in Indiana. 
Urban Ag and Innovation Production Competitive Grants
Program Planning Projects will initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools, and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. Projects may target areas of food access; education; business and start-up costs for new farmers; and development of policies related to zoning and other needs of urban production.
Implementation Projects will accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor, and other agricultural practices that serve multiple farmers. Projects will improve local food access and collaborate with partner organizations and may support infrastructure needs; emerging technologies; educational endeavors; and urban farming policy implementation.
Apply at Grants.gov  by July 6, 2020.
Webinar, June 3, 2020, 2-4 PM EDT.  Click here to register and watch the live or recorded webinar .
Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project Cooperative Agreements
These cooperative agreements intend to solicit applications and fund pilot projects in no fewer than 10 states. The primary goal is to assist local and municipal governments with projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. Implementation activities will increase access to compost for agricultural producers, improve soil quality and encourages innovative, scalable waste management plans that reduce and divert food waste from landfills.
Apply at Grants.gov  by June 26, 2020.
Webinar, June 4, 2020, 2-4 PM EDT.  Click here to register and watch the live or recorded webinar .
Farmers and Private Landowners Help Wetlands Thrive in Indiana
By Jerry Raynor, Indiana NRCS State Conservationist
Spring is a great time to appreciate the wonders of wetlands. Wetlands protect plants and provide habitat for wildlife, including endangered or threatened species. They filter water, reduce soil loss, sequester carbon from the atmosphere, reduce flooding and recharge groundwater. And they provide recreational opportunities such as hunting and fishing.
May is American Wetlands Month, a time to celebrate one of nature’s most productive ecosystems and the wonderful ways wetlands enrich the environment and our lives.
Follow @IndianaNRCS on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about programs, funding, employment opportunities and other important news.
USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction
Indianapolis, IN, May 12, 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. “Food waste shouldn’t end up in landfills when options like food recovery and composting are available,” Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “Such options not only benefit communities and the environment, they can also provide farmers and urban gardeners with exceptional, nutrient dense planting material.”
USDA Announces Details of Direct Assistance to Farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s  Farmers to Families Food Box  program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.
“America’s farming community is facing an unprecedented situation as our nation tackles the coronavirus. President Trump has authorized USDA to ensure our patriotic farmers, ranchers, and producers are supported and we are moving quickly to open applications to get payments out the door and into the pockets of farmers,” said Secretary Perdue.
USDA Launches Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Purdue Extension News
Virtual Training Series: Talking Confidently About Climate Change in Indiana, and Beyond
This virtual training series is designed to familiarize Indiana educators and professionals with foundational knowledge about climate change so they can be more confident answering questions and engaging in climate change discussions. Attendees will learn why our climate is changing, how it affects Indiana, and what we can do about it.
The series is  FREE , but registration is required. You are welcome to join as many or as few sessions as your schedule allows. Each session lasts approximately 1 hour (except session 6, which is interactive and lasts 90 minutes), and the  series begins on June 9, 2020

This series is co-sponsored by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, Purdue Extension, and the Indiana State Climate Office.
Indiana Yard and Garden News
Other News
Join the Soil Health Nexus team Wednesdays for upcoming editions of the Digital Soil Health Cafe series! These webinars feature the latest soil health research, resources, and news from Extension soil health experts and researchers from across the region. Each webinar will be an hour in length with a 20-minute presentation, followed by 10-minutes of Q&A. Then there will be a casual 30-minute Digital Cafe where attendees can continue to discuss the topic in more depth with Soil Health Nexus members. 
May 27, 2020
2pm CT
Utility of the Phospholipid Fatty Acid Analysis with Donna Brandt
June 3, 2020
2pm CT
Exploring how Farmers’ Perceptions of Soil Health Affect Their Management Decisions with Tayler Ulbrich
June 10, 2020
2pm CT
Cover Crop and Soil Health On-Farm Research Partnership Between UNL and NRCS with Gary Lesoing
June Brown Bag Lunch
​June 18 @11:30
Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab
Bring your lunch and join us in the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab at Marian University! We will have lunch outdoors and then plant a few native plants to contribute to the on-going restoration of the 75-acre natural space. Learn about the over 100-year history of restoration on the property, what is going on now in terms of restoration, and how you can incorporate some of these principles in your own back yard to support wildlife. REGISTER TODAY - GROUP SIZE WILL BE LIMITED! on Facebook or by emailing sschuck@marian.edu
Woodland Owner Lunch and Learn - Land Ownership, Liability and the Law
June 11 @ 12 noon EST
Many landowners choose to open their lands to provide recreation, hunting, and educational use for friends, neighbors and others. Other landowners have experienced theft and timber trespassing. This webinar will provide insight from a North Carolina perspective into landowners’ liability and the responsibilities landowners have for invited and uninvited users of their property and will provide proactive steps to avoid timber theft or trespass.
Save the Date:
Big Pine Creek Watershed Project
Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Webinars
The REPI Webinar Series is brought to you by the Department of Defense and features best practices, tutorials, and knowledge sharing on REPI partnerships that support the military mission and accelerate the pace and rate land of conservation.
Project Wingspan:
Online Seed Collection Training
Sign up today to get trained and come join Pollinator Partnership and their conservation partners in collecting seed to help with the enhancement of over 10,000 acres of land for the monarch butterfly, endangered rusty patched bumble bee, and other imperiled pollinators!
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
  • Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist – Indiana, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever
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:

June 12 - River Friendly Farmer Award Applications due 
August 7-23 - Indiana State Fair
August 19 - River Friendly Farmer Awards Ceremony
August 28 - Big Pine Creek Watershed Project
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.