Your Personal Invite to the Soil and Water Conservation “Emmys” on July 17 & 18

Today’s guest post is by Clare Lindahl, Executive Director of Conservation Districts of Iowa, a member of the Iowa Learning Farms Steering Committee.

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It was July 15th last year and I stood before the National Association of Conservation District’s Executive Board, both nervous and excited. I knew I was prepared for the pitch I was about to deliver to bring the first National Soil and Water Conservation District event to Iowa. I had been working on it for months. I also knew I was about to embark on the biggest event planning endeavor our office of two staff at the time had ever experienced.

Iowa’s 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts and 500 elected Commissioners are part of a national effort to protect and enhance natural resources. Just like Conservation Districts of Iowa represents and supports Iowa’s Districts and Commissioners, the National Association of Conservation Districts represents America’s 3,000 conservation districts and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards.

After the pitch, I looked around the room and I knew I had landed it! One Executive Board member stated, “Heck, I might just move to Iowa!”  Full disclosure, he was from Oklahoma. : )

I felt in that moment I knew just a little how Hugh Hammond Bennett felt when he nailed his presentation 82 years ago, passing the conservation bill that established the Soil Conservation Service as a permanent agency in the USDA. The bill authorized them to assist farmers to conserve soil and prevent erosion without a single dissenting vote. I said just a little!

In my pitch to come to Iowa, I touted Iowa Learning Farms and their award-winning, innovative conservation education programming. They have the ability to make conservation education and outreach a science, and to quantify the impacts they have after a farmer leaves one of their field days.

June_Summer-Meeting-Logo2017So on July 17-18, 2017, the National Association of Conservation Districts Summer Forum and Tour will be held in conjunction with the Iowa Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners 71st Annual Conference.  Hundreds of Conservation District Commissioners and partners from across the state and nation will descend on Prairie Meadows Conference Center in Altoona, Iowa, and participate in tours across the state.

The forum, which will start with lunch and Iowa awards after the Iowa and national business meetings, will include invited speakers Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue. We will follow up with an inspirational speaker and then break into simultaneous panels on public-private approaches to conservation planning and community and agriculture working together for clean water.

That evening, we will have an exhibitor social with hors d’oeuvre preceding our banquet with awards and a live auction with father-son auctioneer team Jeff and Dylan Webber. Leadership from the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will deliver talks as well.

wqThe next morning, after breakfast and an Iowa Natural History Primer, we will divide up into two tours. The water quality tour will feature urban conservation practices in Ankeny, a visit to Iowa’s Land Improvement Contractors Farm to view conservation practices, a water quality monitoring demo, a driving tour of Iowa State University and a visit to Alluvial Brewing Company.

soilThe Soil Health Tour will feature the Badger Creek Lake Watershed Project, a talk on Palmer Amaranth, a drive by a Madison County Covered Bridge, lunch at historic Keller Brick Barn and a presentation from the Dallas County Soil and Water Conservation District and a demonstration of soil health – in town and on the farm.

If this sounds as fun to you as it does to me, consider this your personal invite to the Soil and Water Conservation event of the century – register here.

Clare Lindahl

Tim Palmer Elected as NACD First Vice President

Congratulations to Tim Palmer, Iowa Learning Farms farmer partner, on his election as the National Association of Conservation District’s First Vice President on February 1, 2017!img_9571

Press release by Conservation Districts of Iowa Executive Director Clare Lindahl, reprinted with permission.

Tim Palmer of Iowa was elected and sworn in as the National Association of Conservation District’s (NACD) First Vice President during their 71st Annual Meeting held January 28 to February 1, 2017.

Palmer has been a Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner since 2003. He is past president of Conservation Districts of Iowa and a former Governor appointee of the State Soil Conservation Committee.  Palmer served as an Executive Board Member for the National Association of Conservation Districts where he represented Iowa and 7 other corn belt states prior to becoming First Vice President last week. He chaired the Natural Resource Policy Committee and was a steering committee member on the National Conservation Planning Partnership.  Palmer is a recipient of the Conservation Districts of Iowa Honorary Member Award, State Division of Soil Conservation Award and NACD President’s Award.

Palmer has been farming for 40 years. He has row corn, soybeans and cattle and numerous conservation practices on his farm including cover crops, no-till, grassed waterways, terraces and forage rotations.

“Protecting, conserving and enhancing resources – natural and other – is a long win consisting of a huge number of smaller victories. I am honored to be part of the national voice for local conservation district concerns and priorities” Palmer stated.

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards.

Conservation Districts of Iowa (CDI) is the non-profit organization that represents the state’s 100 Soil and Water Conservation District, 500 men and women elected to these boards and the District staff they employ.

For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, CDI and the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District, visit: www.nacdnet.org,  www.cdiowa.org and www.madison-swcd.org.

ILF Webinar – Today at 11:30am

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Clare Lindahl, Executive Director of Conservation Districts of Iowa

The Iowa Learning Farms monthly webinar begins at 11:30 this morning. Our presenter today is Clare Lindahl, executive director of Conservation Districts of Iowa. Her presentation is titled “Promoting Conservation.” She will provide tips and advice on public speaking and presenting to others about conservation.

Log on as a guest here shortly before 11:30: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.

If you can’t participate live, you can watch the archive of today’s webinar, along with all of ILF’s past webinars, on our website: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/page/webinars

We hope to “see” you at 11:30!

-Carol Brown