NEWS FROM NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONSERVATION DISTRICTS: VAN DYKE OF NEW MEXICO ASSUMES NACD HELM

VAN DYKE OF NEW MEXICO ASSUMES NACD HELM DENVER, Feb. 3, 2017 – Brent Van Dyke, born and raised in Springer, New Mexico, was sworn in as the president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, one of America’s largest conservation groups, at the organization’s 71st Annual Meeting. The NACD Board of Directors elected Van Dyke to lead the member organization at NACD’s 2016 Annual Meeting. Van Dyke served one year as president-elect, and starting now, will serve two years as president. “Brent knows conservation – he comes from the farm and understands how important sustainable agriculture is to not only the American economy, but to people around the world,” NACD Immediate Past President Lee McDaniel said. “Brent also understands that our work as the ‘Voice of Conservation’ includes engaging with our more non-traditional urban and tribal partners. He sees the need to broaden NACD’s base and intends to continue the policies established in my tenure to that do just that,” McDaniel continued. Van Dyke and his wife Kim reside in Hobbs, New Mexico, where they run a commercial and registered cattle operation. The Van Dykes also raise irrigated alfalfa and coastal Bermuda hay in Lea County, New Mexico, and cotton in Plains, Texas. Prior to assuming the presidency, Van Dyke served as vice president of the New Mexico Association…

2016 AACD AWARD WINNERS

Congratulations to the 2016 Alabama Association of Conservation Districts award winners! The following state winners for AACD awards and the “We All Need Trees” poster and essay contest were announced at area meetings from July through September. CONSERVATION EDUCATION DISTRICT OF THE YEAR: Area I Cullman County Conservation District OUTSTANDING WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AWARD: Area II Jimmy Jimmerson Cleburne County Conservation District CONSERVATION BUSINESS AWARD: Area I Glenn Lewis Madison County Conservation District CONSERVATION COMMUNICATIONS AWARD: Area III Elane Jones Walker County Conservation District OUTSTANDING ELECTED OFFICIAL: Area V Willie L. “Bill” Godwin, Jr. Covington County Conservation District “WE ALL NEED TREES” ESSAY CONTEST: (7-9) Area VI Lyndsey Cook Conecuh County Conservation District (10-12) Area III Ashleigh McCool Pickens County Conservation District POSTER CONTEST: (K-1) Area VI Abbie Holley Conecuh County Conservation District (2-3) Area V Melody Moore Covington County Conservation District (4-6) Area III Mazie Bowen Bibb County Conservation District (7-9) Area VI Casey Godwin Conecuh County Conservation District (10-12) Area VI Tabitha Shultz Conecuh County Conservation District TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Area V Scott Crosby Coffee County Conservation District

HOLLEY, COLLINS, AND BOOTHE NAMED AACD LEGISLATORS OF THE YEAR

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (December 12, 2016) – The Alabama Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) named State Senator Jimmy Holley (R-Elba), State Representative Terri Collins (R-Decatur), and State Representative Alan Boothe (R-Troy) as Legislators of the Year during a recent award ceremony held at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach. Click the links below to learn about each award. Sen. Jimmy Holley – Senate Legislator of the Year Rep. Terri Collins – House Legislator of the Year Rep. Alan Boothe – House Legislator of the Year

LAWRENCE COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT NOMINEE WINS LAND CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (August 22, 2016) – The Lawrence County Conservation District nominee for a statewide conservation award takes home the top honor. Blythe Cotton Company of Town Creek was recently awarded the Land Conservationist of the Year Award at the 2016 Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet. The banquet was held on Friday, August 5, 2016, at The Marriott Legends at Capitol Hill in Prattville. The Blythe Cotton Company is a family farming operation comprised of Jimmy Blythe, Jr., his wife Betty, daughter Jamie, and her husband Kenny Paul Arnold. The farm, located in Town Creek, rotates cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans and uses a diversified cropping system on 3500 acres. Their no-till conservation method has been utilized to reduce soil erosion from 15 tons to less than 1 ton per acre. At the same time, it has increased organic matter, improved soil health, decreased runoff potential from fertilizers and pesticides. Blythe Cotton also uses the latest technology in Precision Agriculture using data collected from yield and soil maps to improve their soil stewardship and overall land stewardship. Lawrence County Conservation District Chairman Allen Pickens, District Administrative Coordinator Henrietta Taylor, and District Conservationist Kathy Gotcher joined the Blythes for the awards dinner. AWF Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards are the most respected conservation honors in the state of Alabama.…

ALABAMA CONSERVATION LEADERS RECEIVE NATIONAL RECOGNITION

CHEROKEE, N.C. (August 1, 2016) – Two distinguished Alabama conservation leaders receive national recognition. Dr. Richard Guthrie from Bullock County and Barnett King from Crenshaw County were officially inducted into the Southeast Region National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Hall of Fame on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, in Cherokee, North Carolina. Alabama’s delegate to NACD and board member, Dr. Carol Knight, presented the honors at a luncheon and ceremony that coincided with the SE NACD annual meeting at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, July 31-Aug. 2. “The Alabama Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) is fortunate to have many distinguished members, but these two stood out to be deserving of this honor this year. Both have demonstrated a life-long commitment to the wise use of natural resources, conservation education, and promoting agriculture in our state,” said Dr. Knight. From his childhood raised on a cattle farm, through his pursuit of education and a career, to today, Dr. Guthrie has devoted his life to conservation. With a doctorate in Soil Science, Dr. Guthrie retired from a 20-year career as an NRCS soil scientist and later led Auburn University’s College of Agriculture as Dean. He sat for 5 years on the Soil & Water Conservation Committee and currently Chairs the Bullock County Conservation District. At age 90, Barnett King continues 31 years of active…

GRANT BRINGS LOCALLY-GROWN FOOD, EDUCATION TO SOUTHWESTERN JEFFERSON COUNTY

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (July 27, 2016) – Fresh, locally-grown food is coming to southwestern Jefferson County thanks to a $50,000 grant secured by the Jefferson County Conservation District. The District competed against dozens of other applicants across the country for the National Association of Conservation Districts-funded grant and is the only conservation district in Alabama to become a recipient. “We are honored to have been selected for this grant. Fresh food, especially in parts of the Birmingham-metro area, is hard to come by for some. These food deserts contribute to hunger, poor learning in school, unemployment, and health issues, so we’re excited about how this funding will impact the community,” said John W. Morris, Chairman, Jefferson County Conservation District. The Urban Conservation Grant will focus on strengthening urban agriculture by funding a full-time project coordinator who will conduct educational workshops and spearhead the effort to construct a hoop house in the Hillman Neighborhood for residents to learn how to grow their own vegetables. Virginia Ward of Bessemer has 25 years of experience in agriculture and community organizing and will serve as the project coordinator. “I am delighted to have this opportunity to help revitalize this neighborhood,” said Ward. “Our vision is to increase access to food and to be a catalyst for inter-community cooperation. In this part of the metro area,…

CONSERVATION AGENCY BOLSTERS WATER PROGRAM; STATEWIDE COORDINATION

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (July 6, 2016) – The Alabama Soil & Water Conservation Committee (SWCC) is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to the team: Allison Jenkins of Wetumpka and April Griffin of Mobile to bolster the agency’s water program and statewide coordination of initiatives. Jenkins will officially join SWCC in January as Director of Water Programs following a 17-year career as Executive Director of the Alabama Clean Water Partnership. “We are very fortunate that Allison agreed to join our team. Her vast knowledge of Alabama’s watersheds and expertise in navigating the 319 water management process are invaluable to our organization,” said Dr. William Puckett, SWCC Executive Director. “Water is increasingly our most critical resource and its future is in limbo. Allison will be instrumental in leading our agency’s efforts to ensure water quality and quantity for all in Alabama.” Griffin joins SWCC as the State District Administrative Coordinator (DAC). She primarily oversees and coordinates the activities and training of local DACs in each of Alabama’s 67 conservation districts. “April is uniquely equipped for this job having served as the Mobile County DAC for 20 years. I am 100 percent confident in her ability to lead our 67 DACS. They are the backbone of our organization and it’s important they have proper support on the state level. I…

REP. POOLE NAMED ALABAMA CONSERVATION HOUSE LEGISLATIVE LEADER OF THE YEAR

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (June 22, 2016) – State Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) has been named the Alabama House Legislative Leader of the Year by the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) at a recent award ceremony in Poole’s home district. Rep. Poole received the award for his dedicated service, leadership, and assistance to all citizens for the wise use of Alabama’s natural resources. (Photo L-R) Dr. William Puckett, Kenny Lee (District Secretary/Treasurer), Rep. Bill Poole, John E. Walker, III, and Frank Hamiter (District Vice-Chairman) Poole is serving in his second term in the Alabama House of Representatives representing District 63, which covers a portion of Tuscaloosa County. He is Chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Committee which funds the K-12 Foundation program, higher education, and other important services such as workforce development. He also serves his constituents as the Tuscaloosa County Legislative Delegation Chair. Poole highlighted the economic impact of agriculture and the positive benefit of conservation districts on Alabama’s economy. He recalled his time growing up in the small town of Dayton in Marengo County where row cropping and dairy farming were imperative to the economy. “I’ve seen first-hand in rural Alabama how much of an impact agriculture has on a community,” said Poole. “It hurts the economy and our citizens when those industries decrease. You have my…

SEN. CHAMBLISS ADDRESSES CONSERVATION EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION; 52 DISTRICTS REPRESENTED

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (June 10, 2016) – Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) addressed about 60 members of the Alabama Conservation District Employees Association (ACDEA) in Prattville on Monday, June 6, 2016. The group, representing 52 Alabama counties, met at the Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center for their summer training. Sen. Chambliss spoke at the invitation of Paula Adams with the Autauga County Conservation District. He gave the group insight into the inner workings of the Legislature and discussed how (and how not) to communicate with legislators. ACDEA wrapped up its four-day training with a tour of the Museum of Alabama at the Department of Archives and History and a kayaking adventure on Autauga Creek. Group photo of DACs The Alabama Conservation District Employees Association (ACDEA) is a coalition of the District Administrative Coordinators (DACs) in each of Alabama’s 67 conservation districts. DACs serve as the local connection between the land user and the available services and resources to promote conservation on private land. They are also the leaders of conservation education initiatives in their local districts. Conservation districts work hand-in-hand with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to secure funding and technical assistance for landowners and farmers. Support local conservation efforts by visiting conservealabama.gov and learn more about Conserve Alabama, an initiative of the Alabama Soil & Water Conservation Committee.