06-11-19 NACD Encourages Producers to Implement Conservation Practices In Face of Extreme Weather

NACD Encourages Producers to Implement Conservation Practices In Face of Extreme Weather

WASHINGTON D.C. – June 11, 2019 – This spring, America’s heartland has faced nearly unprecedented levels of flooding, with the United States experiencing the wettest 12 months on record. Farmers across the nation are facing the difficult decision of whether to plant or not this season, watching as topsoil washes away with each rain event. Many producers are beginning to explore transitioning to conservation practices, including no-till and cover crops, in order to prevent further soil erosion in the face of extreme weather.

In February 2019, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) hosted two focus groups at its 73rd Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, inviting its Soil Health Champions for discussion on how soil health practices like cover crops and no-till have impacted their operations in the face of extreme weather patterns. A total of 22 producers participated in the focus groups, representing six of NACD’s seven regions and 15 states.

The focus groups and resulting report Soil Health and Weather Extremes, available on NACD’s Reports webpage, were made possible through partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The report provides an overview of the producers’ testimony, examining how they and their neighbors are responding to extreme weather events.

NACD’s Soil Health Champions indicated that no-till helps ‘armor’ their soil against weather extremes, saying, “My soil is anchored.” A producer from Maryland indicated that his continuous no-till since 1990 allows him to “get on the ground sooner,” following extreme rains. The report states, “Producers said they believe soil health practices make their operations more resilient in several ways,” and that the adoption of these practices allows them to utilize fewer inputs. “Even if crop yields decline due to weather extremes, their net input costs are lower, so they can withstand the extremes.”

As the nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards, NACD’s mission is to work with the millions of landowners and operators to help them manage and protect land and water resources on private and public lands through grassroots advocacy, education and partnerships. Established under state law, conservation districts are local units of government working to carry out natural resource management programs at the local level.

By providing resources and services at a local level, including focus groups that help result in reports like this, our goal is to elevate the unique voices of landowners and operators so they can be heard at a national level. NACD encourages America’s producers to reach out to their local conservation district to learn how they can begin implementing or fortify conservation practices tailored for their weather patterns, natural resource needs and operations.

About the National Association of Conservation Districts:

The National Association of Conservation Districts is the nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state and territory associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. 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, visit: www.nacdnet.org.

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Submitted to The BARN by:

Sara Kangas, NACD Director of Communications
(202) 547-6223; sara-kangas@nacdnet.org