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Conservation INsight
April 28, 2021
Stewardship Week: April 25 - May 2
Stewardship Week
NACD Stewardship Week is one of the largest national programs to promote natural resource conservation. Celebrated annually since 1955 between the last Sunday in April and the first Sunday in May, NACD Stewardship Week reminds us of our individual responsibilities to care for natural resources.
Jamie Scott recognized as Hoosier Resilience Hero for commitment to environment
Jonathan Hines, ERI, Indiana University
(April 19, 2021) - In advance of Earth Day, Jamie Scott, a northeast Indiana farmer, has been named a Hoosier Resilience Hero by Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI). As an early adopter of agricultural practices that promote soil health and water quality, Scott has helped showcase the benefits of sustainable farming methods that sequester carbon and lower the environmental impact of farming. On his farm, Scott regularly hosts workshops and field days demonstrating the benefits of cover crops, no-till planting, pollinator habitats, permanent vegetation and other practices. He opens his fields for soil health studies and welcomes local college students interested in ecology and land use.
IASWCD-Hosted April Lunch 'n Learns Recorded & Posted
April 7, 14 and 21 recorded Lunch 'n Learn sessions for Indiana Districts are being edited and then posted on the 'For Districts' tab of the iaswcd.org website.
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Four Indiana SWCD Region Meetings
in June
Northwest - June 8
Southeast - June 10
Southwest - June 15
Northeast - June 17
Join us virtually in June for one or more Indiana SWCD Region Gatherings to hear partner updates and news about local projects!
In recognition of Earth Day, the Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP) announced its 2020 soil health and water quality accomplishments. The ICP works with Hoosier landowners to provide technical or financial assistance for the implementation of conservation projects. In 2020, landowners supported by the ICP installed more than 32,000 new conservation practices – a new state record.
Urban Soil Health Program - Regional “Meet and Greet” Sessions
Join our regional virtual “meet and greet” sessions to learn more about the IASWCD’s new state-wide Urban Soil Health Program. Program Director Elli Blaine and each regional Soil Health Specialist will give a short presentation about the program’s background and goals.
April 28
10am-12pm EDT
Northwest Region
April 28
1-3pm EDT
Northeast Region
April 29
10am-12pm EDT
Southeast Region
Join NACD for the Winds, Water and Wildfires Virtual Summits this May!
Conservation districts are uniquely positioned to assist communities with planning and preparedness before, during and after disasters. Our sessions will demonstrate how conservation districts are working together with all community members to conquer the challenges facing private landowners. Registration is free, and you can attend more than one session.
  • West - May 6
  • Southeast - May 11-12
  • Northeast - May 25-26
NACD Announces Climate Action Task Force
WASHINGTON (April 22, 2021) – Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) announced the formation of a Climate Action Task Force to assess current and emerging climate policy opportunities and make recommendations to NACD’s leadership that utilize the technical knowledge and expertise of conservation districts as part of the U.S. solution to the global climate crisis.
NACD Applauds CRP Enhancements
WASHINGTON (April 21, 2021) – Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) applauded the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s changes to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Secretary Tom Vilsack announced several changes to the program to incentivize participation, including adjusting rental rates and introducing a variety of incentive payments, including a climate incentive payment.
“NACD applauds the announcement today that USDA is adjusting rental rates and incentive payments for CRP,” NACD President Michael Crowder said.
IDEA Website Updated
Check out the Indiana District Employee Association's website for details regarding 2021 membership, fall conference and current Region Directors and officers.
LAST CALL! 2021 IDEA Membership Dues Deadline Extended to April 30
For only $25, you can be a member of the Indiana District Employee Association and receive these benefits:
  • Significant Discount at Fall Conference (2021)
  • Participation in IDEA Regional Staff Meetings (great for networking, support, asking questions and sharing ideas)
  • Recognition of Years of Service Awards
  • and more!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals through June 21 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials). On-Farm Trials, part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.
NRCS and private landowners have partnered to protect more than 5 million acres of wetlands, grasslands and prime farmlands — an area the size of New Jersey. In Indiana, NRCS has enrolled 81,222 acres, helping achieve this important conservation milestone. “Indiana’s farmers and private landowners are critical to conserving our nation’s natural resources for future generations,” said Jerry Raynor, NRCS State Conservationist in Indiana. “We want to celebrate their efforts in helping us protect sensitive lands, support wildlife and confront challenges like climate change.”
USDA Expands and Renews Conservation Reserve Program in Effort to Boost Enrollment and Address Climate Change
USDA Also Announces Investments in Partner Programs to Support Climate-Smart Policies
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA will open enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with higher payment rates, new incentives, and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation. Additionally, USDA is announcing investments in partnerships to increase climate-smart agriculture, including $330 million in 85 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects and $25 million for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement today at the White House National Climate Task Force meeting to demonstrate USDA’s commitment to putting American agriculture and forestry at the center of climate-smart solutions to address climate change.
*Reminder* Copies of the 2021 Soils Planner are Still Available
This planner is highly educational and includes pictures that capture the essence of the Earth's story.
NRCS Earth Team Volunteer
This year, Indiana NRCS is excited to announce Allana Whiteside as the 2020 National NRCS Earth Team Individual Volunteer award recipient for her commitment to assisting the Bartholomew County Service Center with her innovative pollinator project. As a high school senior, Allana was required to complete a senior project where it was recommended students learn new skills while serving their community. 
Because of the influence of modern architecture throughout the city of Columbus, Indiana, Whiteside set out to learn metal working skills. She then used those skills to build a pollinator habitat which included both a metal and wood component. The main habitat structure has space for moths, butterflies, ladybugs and bees to escape from the elements and lay eggs.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was founded in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service in response to the devastation caused by the Dust Bowl. Drought conditions and poor soil management had caused widespread soil erosion throughout the county, robbing farmers of their valuable resource.From the day it was formed and in the more than 80 years since, the NRCS has worked with farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners to protect and restore the environment while conserving our nation’s soil, air and water. 
USDA Invests $21.7M in Research Innovations to Improve Soil Health and Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will invest at least $21.7 million in several key programs to help agricultural producers manage the impacts of climate change on their lands and production. NIFA awarded $6.3 million for 14 Soil Health grants and $5.4 million for seven Signals in the Soil grants through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
Purdue Extension News
Nominations Open for 2021 Women in Agriculture Award
Deadline May 1
Annually, the Purdue Women in Agriculture (WIA) Team recognizes Indiana women who are leaders and innovators and have contributed to the success of Indiana Agriculture. Currently, the Purdue WIA Team is accepting applications for the 2021 Purdue Women in Agriculture Awards.
Nominees will be placed in either the Leadership or Achievement categories for award consideration as deemed appropriate by the WIA Team. Additionally, the Emerging Women in Ag Leadership Award recognizes our high school and undergrad college students that are making an impact on agriculture.
Actively Managing Natural Resources
Conservation through Community Leadership is bringing different interest groups together to plan the future of Cedar Creek, which flows 31.9 miles from northwestern DeKalb County through the center of Auburn and into Allen County, where it joins the St. Joseph River. The program, a partnership of Purdue Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, helps communities plan and think through environmental challenges. They used the Tipping Point Planner, which helps communities directly link data to their local decision-making processes.
Other News
Open Funding for Shovel Ready Conservation Drainage Projects
With funding support from Kellogg Company, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is working to identify priority locations for edge of field conservation drainage practices in East Central Illinois, particularly in the area within a 75-mile radius of the Bunge Corn Mill in Danville, IL. 
Unspent funds available.
What:  Shovel Ready Conservation Drainage Projects ( Site Evaluation, Design, Installation, Materials)
              Saturated Buffers
              Controlled Drianage
(~$50K Available)
Upcoming Conservation Conversations!
These virtual Zoom sessions are for people working in urban, community, and personal gardens and small farms. Discussions include Soil Health Basics, Soil Health Practices, Soil Health and Beneficial Insects, and Soil Health and Cover Crops. You may attend any or all of the discussions but space is limited and RSVPs are required. 11:30 am - 1 pm (all sessions, Eastern)

  • 5/3: Soil Health and Beneficial Insects: Beyond Bees and Butterflies 
  • 5/10: Soil Health and Cover Crops
  • 5/17: Soil Health Basics (Repeat of April 19)
  • 5/24: SoIl Health Practices (Repeat of April 26)
  • 6/07: Soil Health and Cover Crops (repeat of May 10)
  • 6/14: Soil Health & Beneficial Insects: Beyond Bees & Butterflies (Repeat of May 3)
Save the date for the Indiana Land Use Summit
On September 8-9, 2021, join the Purdue Extension Land Use Team, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana Land Resources Council for discussions about climate change and renewable energy, community engagement for land use planning, and innovations in land use planning for agriculture and natural resources. Registration will open in June. 
You're Invited to the
Pollinator Power Party!
You’re invited to the Pollinator Power Party to understand the life and purpose of pollinators. Through fun activities like cooking, science, art, and music, you will learn why pollinators are important in your life! This celebration of pollinators and those that protect them will take place during National Pollinator Week, June 17, 2021 - June 25, 2021.

WHO: Everyone! This event is public and family-friendly; so tell your friends, families, and neighbors too.

WHAT: We will celebrate pollinators and the role that power companies play to protect them!

WHERE: At your house! Do activities along with pollinator enthusiasts and engage online. 
SWCS International Annual Conference this Summer: Registration Now Open!
The 76th Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) International Annual Conference, taking place virtually, July 26-28, 2021, will provide the opportunity for attendees around the world to share their conservation stories and bring natural resource management solutions from far and wide into their homes and offices. The virtual event format allows access and inclusivity on a broad scale, and our interactive conference platform provides a robust conference experience with live sessions, Q&A, networking, a virtual exhibit hall, and many other ways to learn, connect, and engage. 

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 :
April 28 - Urban Soil Health Meet and Greet
April 28 - CCSI Teleconferences
April 29 - Urban Soil Health Meet and Greet
April 29 - CCSI Webinar: Strategies Moving Forward
May 3 - W4L Conservation Conversation
May 8 - Native Plant Fest, Tippecanoe Co.
May 10 - W4L Conservation Conversation
May 17 - W4L Conservation Conversation
May 24 - W4L Conservation Conversation
May 24 - CCSI Teleconferences
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.