Friday, October 26, 2012

SWCS Chapter Leader Training Webinars

The SWCS Chapter Leader Training Webinars have begun! Yesterday's webinar provided an overview of the series. The next webinar will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. eastern standard time. Register for the free workshop here.

This training series has been developed by the SWCS Leadership Development Committee to assist anyone interested in a chapter leadership role in the Society. Presenters will include members of the committee, SWCS headquarters staff, and other experienced chapter leaders. You can read more about the webinar series and test your connection for the upcoming meeting here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

SWCS Winter Cover Crops Meetings

The Soil and Water Conservation Society is hosting two cover crops conferences this winter! The first will be held December 13-14, 2012, in Altoona, Iowa. The second will be January 29-30, 2013, in Decatur, Illinois.

These meetings will build on the success of last year's SWCS Cover Crops conference held in Decatur, Illinois, which was attended by 290 people. The meetings will provide a forum for farmers to exchange information, discuss opportunities for collaboration, and learn about the new and successful practices related to cover crops. Case study presentations will identify and discuss strengths and pitfalls of real applications.

Speakers will include farmers, crop consultants, and university researchers who have extensive experience in cover crop management. Exhibit halls at the meetings will host dozens of equipment companies, service providers and seed dealers to help answer your questions about how to incorporate cover crops into your system. If you're interested in being an exhibitor or sponsor at one or both meetings, more information is online here, or contact Meredith Foley at

Registration for these meetings is just $49 each. View the agenda and register for the Altoona, Iowa, Cover Crops Conference here. View the agenda and register for the Illinois Cover Crops Conference here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture: Call for Presentations

Call for Oral and Poster Presentations
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
22-26 June 2014

Soil Health and Wallet Wealth
is the overall theme for the 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture because the path to sustainable long-term agricultural production starts with healthy soil. Agricultural production systems are not sustainable unless they are profitable, and Conservation Agriculture is the key to building and maintaining healthy soils and profitable farming systems. Three subthemes for this Congress will focus on aspects of Conservation Agriculture designed to enhance our knowledge base and share experiences among attendees.

1. Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification (production, profit, and sustainability)
As the world population grows, the demand for food, fuel and fiber will grow. Conservation agriculture will allow producers to intensify their cropping systems to increase production without increasing the area devoted to agriculture with emphasis on 1) improving soil quality; 2) increasing efficient use of inputs (labor, nutrients, water); and 3) increasing cropping system diversity.

2. Conservation Agriculture and Climate Change (variation, adaptation, and mitigation) 
Conservation Agriculture systems allow producers to take a proactive approach to dealing with climate change. A well-designed Conservation Agriculture system will not only reduce emissions but will provide producers with more options to deal with changes in rainfall patterns or growing season temperatures. Presentations will emphasize 1) the role of conservation agriculture in mitigation of climate change impacts, and 2) design and implementation of resilient and conservation agriculture systems that are “climate smart.”

3. Conservation Agriculture and Innovative Adoption (education and learning systems)
There is no better teacher of a technique than someone who has successfully mastered that technique. This subtheme area will focus on learning about conservation agriculture systems from those who have studied them as well as those who are successfully applying them. Presentations for this session will emphasize 1) communication strategies (farmer, industry, policy, and scientist); 2) adoption and innovation/learning systems (extension, farmer's experimentation); and 3) participatory resource management/adaptive management.

Proposals for oral and poster presentations are to be submitted to ( following the guidelines for submission by September 1, 2013. All submissions will be reviewed and the corresponding author notified after review by the program committee by October 15, 2013. The program for the 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture will be available by January 15, 2014.

Questions on the papers for the 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture can be directed to: Jerry L. Hatfield (Program Chair) at

Monday, October 22, 2012

CRP Readiness Initiative

Dear Friends in Conservation, 

This is just a reminder that the CRP Readiness Initiative is open for fall registration. Join over 340 of your colleagues across the country who have already participated in our comprehensive training program. The path to becoming an NRCS certified CRP Technical Service Provider (TSP) has never been easier with new online training options and access to local mentors. Participants complete an online Core Training, develop a CRP plan with a mentor and have access to a suite of online, in-person and hybrid supplemental courses.

If you, your staff, or interested colleagues were unable to attend one of the trainings we hosted earlier this year, now is your chance to sign-up and add to your conservation planning skill set. 

Participants who complete the FREE online Core Training are eligible for the mentorship and supplemental courses at no additional charge. Supplemental courses are available for a fee to all other participants.

Please visit our new website for an overview of the entire program including training availability, benefits and continuing education units (CEUs). Also, take a few minutes to get to know some of your peers who have already participated in the program by clicking on the Our Stories and TSP Blog sections of the website. If you are on Facebook, please help us get to 100 Likes by the end of the month so we can spread the word on conservation and the benefits of becoming a TSP.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to helping you take the next step in your conservation planning career.


Rebecca Power
Project Co-Director

Kevin Erb
Project Co-Director

Karen Bassler
Project Manager

Project Contacts

Rebecca Power, Project Co-Director

Kevin Erb, Project Co-Director

Karen Bassler, Project Manager

This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under agency number 68-3A75-11-268, CDFA number 10.902. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. University of Wisconsin, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin counties cooperating. An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and American with Disabilities (ADA) requirements.

US Dairy Sustainability Awards: Upcoming Nominations Deadline

The Innovation Center for US Dairy is currently accepting nominations for this year’s US Dairy Sustainability Awards. The awards will recognize operations that have made commitments to environmental, economic, and social sustainability in the dairy industry. Nominations will be accepted through November 15, 2012, for the following awards:
  • Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
  • Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing Sustainability
  • Outstanding Achievement in Renewable Energy
  • Outstanding Achievement in Energy Efficiency 
Visit the awards page and view the video below to learn more about the award selection criteria, the expert panel of judges, and past winners.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nabbing Nitrates Video Series

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) and the Iowa Chapter of SWCS are among 14 cosponsors of a new video series that shows how conservation practices remove nitrates from water. Missouri & Mississippi Divide Resource Conservation & Development Inc. (M&M Divide), based in west central Iowa, produced the four new water conservation videos in a series titled Nabbing Nitrates—Before Water Leaves the Farm.

In both English and Spanish, the series includes animation that shows what happens in wetlands and below the ground in four conservation practices that remove nitrates from surface and groundwater: “Water Conservation Drainage,” “Riparian Forest Buffers,” “Working Wetlands,” and “Bioreactors.” The series was produced with a Conservation Innovation Grant awarded by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRSC).

The objective of the series is to educate landowners and producers of practices that can assist in solving the nutrient water quality issues in the Iowa Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) target watersheds.

Copies of the videos have been distributed to USDA NRCS, Farm Service Agency, and Iowa State University Extension offices in 25 counties that are part of the Iowa MRBI target watersheds. Those watersheds (and counties) are
  • North Raccoon River Watershed: Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Sac, Calhoun, Carroll, Greene, Dallas, and Polk counties;
  • Boone River Watershed: Kossuth, Hancock, Humboldt, Wright, and Hamilton counties;
  • Upper Cedar River Watershed: Worth, Mitchell, Floyd, Chickasaw, and Bremer counties; and
  • Maquoketa River Watershed: Fayette, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Jones, Jackson, and Clinton counties.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts and USDA NRCS offices in the six Iowa counties served by M&M Divide also received copies of the videos, which can be checked out for viewing. They are Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Green, Guthrie, and Sac counties.

The videos are also available for viewing online on the M&M Divide’s projects page at

Along with SWCS and the Iowa Chapter of SWCS, other partner sponsors who helped fund the series with cash and in-kind donations include Des Moines Water Works, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Environmental Council, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture-Soil Conservation Division, Agri Drain Corporation, Raccoon River Watershed Association, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Carroll County Extension Council, Carroll County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Iowa Conservation Education Coalition.

Contact SWCS if you are interested in checking out our copy of the video series: 515-289-1227.