Episode 2: Cover Crops and Soil Health
By Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

How do you make a farm or ranch more sustainable? There is no single answer, but SARE’s video series “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” highlights some common practices farmers and ranchers across the country use to improve profitability, quality of life, and environmental stewardship. In this episode we look at the importance of healthy soils and the positive impact of cover crops. “Cover Crops and Soil Health” provides a short, animated outline of basic principles that can be used to introduce or complement more detailed training materials.

Learn more at https://www.sare.org/resources/what-is-soil-health/.

SOURCE: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education


Minnehaha Conservation District (MCD) invites individuals interested in contributing to conservation decisions within Minnehaha County to apply for the current vacancy on our Board to finish out the existing term. Members are expected to regularly attend monthly MCD Board meetings and represent MCD as a liaison to the public, amongst other duties. Board positions are open to all residents of Minnehaha County. Interested parties should contact MCD through phone at (605) 370-3480, or through emailing info@minnehahacd.org.


The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

“The mission of the National Wild Turkey Federation is no less urgent today than when it was founded in 1973. What we do in the coming decades will be instrumental in not only enhancing wild turkey populations but also in the continuation of hunting and quality  wildlife habitat for countless species.

We’re losing 6,000 acres of habitat every day. Hunters fund conservation but now we’re at the point where less than 10 percent of the American population hunts, so the funding source is going away. We know we can’t solve this alone. It’s bigger than one organization. The NWTF is leading a collaborative effort to solve the problem with the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative, and our contribution is our dynamic volunteer base.

Learn more about how the NWTF is making a difference for wildlife, wild places and our hunting lifestyle. Download our Annual Report.


Since 1985, NWTF volunteers and partners raised and spent more than $488 million toward our mission of conserving wildlife habitat and preserving our hunting heritage.”


Episode 1: A Whole-Farm Approach to Sustainability
By Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

How do you make a farm or ranch more sustainable? There is no single answer, but SARE’s video series “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” highlights some common practices farmers and ranchers across the country use to improve profitability, quality of life, and environmental stewardship. In this episode we look at systemic sustainable production principles. “A Whole-Farm Approach to Sustainability” provides a short, animated outline of basic principles that can be used to introduce or complement more detailed training materials.

Learn more at https://www.sare.org/resources/what-is-soil-health/.

SOURCE: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education


The National Deer Association is the leading conservation organization dedicated to conserving North America’s favorite game animal.

We are hunters from all walks of life who share a passion for wild deer. We believe it is our responsibility to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. As the authority on all things deer, we blend the art of hunting with the science of management to create better deer and better deer hunting.

About The National Deer Association

Re-forged on November 10, 2020, from the combined strengths of two deer organizations with 38 years of action, the National Deer Association is united for deer with a new vision to make an impact for conservation immediately and for future generations.

A new, ambitious strategic plan calls for a concentration of effort in four critical areas.

Education and Outreach

The National Deer Association will carry forward the reputation for reliable information for hunters, empowering them to be more informed, successful and engaged stewards of deer and wildlife. Teaching the non-hunting public about the keystone position of deer in the success of all wildlife conservation will be a new goal. Familiar programs, titles and multi-media channels will be strengthened and broadened through key partnerships in the hunting industry.

Recruitment, Retention, Reactivation

The highly successful and tested Field to Fork adult hunter recruitment program will be the cornerstone of the National Deer Association’s R3 effort aimed at growing hunter numbers, instilling a desire among experienced hunters to serve as mentors, and increasing acceptance of hunting among the general public.

Click here to learn more about the National Deer Association.

South Dakota Branch

44945 288th Street
Viborg, SD 57070
Phone: (605) 864-1281
Contact: Jake Gullickson
Email: jake.gullickson89@gmail.com


NACD’s 66th Annual Stewardship Week begins Sunday! This year’s Stewardship Week will take place April 25 to May 2 and will celebrate the theme “Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities.”

Trees are not only beautiful and majestic, but they also support and sustain life by providing us with food and oxygen. Forests are invaluable and play a major role in every community. In addition to food, medicine and shelter, trees provide shade, help clean the air, save energy, clean our water, and offer many other benefits and value to your home and community. 

It is important that each of us understands how much trees matter and how simply planting one tree in your yard can significantly improve your quality of life. Before you do any planting, make sure you have a proper plan to ensure you get all the benefits of adding trees to your community. Contact your local conservation district to get help with tree planting, care and maintenance, as well as learn how to protect trees from invasive species. 

We can all play a part in creating a beautiful urban forest and enjoy how trees enhance our health, communities and environment. Join us to celebrate and honor trees during Stewardship Week to foster education and awareness. 

NACD established Stewardship Week 66 years ago to educate the public on the importance of soil health, water quality, pollinator habitat and other conservation topics. Stewardship Week helps to remind us all of the power each person has to conserve natural resources and improve the world.

For more ideas about how your conservation district can make a difference in your community during Stewardship Week, visit NACD’s Stewardship Week webpage. Let NACD know how you plan on celebrating Stewardship Week by emailing them.



Conservation Clips is a weekly collection of articles distributed by NACD that provides members and partners with the latest news in what’s driving conservation. These articles are not indicative of NACD policy and are the opinions of their authors, unless otherwise noted. If you have a relevant submission or need assistance with accessing articles, please contact the NACD Communications Team.

AgNet WestBiden’s Proposed Budget Brings Added Support to USDA
“NACD is encouraged by the proposals to strengthen funding for conservation,” National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) President Michael Crowder said in a news release. 

By Mitch Kezar
She has also been a national director for the National Association of Conservation Districts. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the people. I have learned so much from the Conservation Districts. If I have a question, I know who to call.” 

Steamboat Pilot & TodayConservation district offers assistance with soil health tests, resources
By Suzie Romig
When the Routt County Conservation District, with organizational roots that extend to 1942, reconstituted in spring 2019, the top priority was soil health.


Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.

Ducks Unlimited is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization. Its members are conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts who live primarily throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

DU got its start in 1937 during the Dust Bowl when North America’s drought-plagued waterfowl populations had plunged to unprecedented lows. Determined not to sit idly by as the continent’s waterfowl dwindled beyond recovery, a small group of sportsmen joined together to form an organization that became known as Ducks Unlimited. Its mission is habitat conservation.

Thanks to decades of abiding by that single mission, Ducks Unlimited is now the world’s largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization. DU is able to multilaterally deliver its work through a series of partnerships with private individuals, landowners, agencies, scientific communities, and other entities.

There are several Ducks Unlimited chapters across South Dakota. Some are holding membership and fundraising events, one as soon as Friday, April 16 in Lennox. Other upcoming events include raffles, silent auctions, dinners, youth-oriented events, and general get-togethers. You can read their monthly newsletters to learn more about their organization, become a member, and get involved.

SOURCE: Ducks Unlimited

A Celebration of Conservation Leaders
ZOOM Online — May 6, 2021 at 6:00 pm CDT

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Women on the Wing Initiative will inspire and provide opportunities for women to become engaged, dynamic conservationists. Women on the Wing will draw from our experience and passion to deliver local events designed to cultivate new sportswomen; connect women landowners, farmers and ranchers; and create a community of women dedicated to carrying on our upland traditions and the Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever mission.

Join Women on the Wing for this unique storytelling event where guests share their “Path to the Uplands” and their passion for supporting conservation efforts led by women. Back by popular demand, Danielle Prewett, contributing editor at MeatEater and founder of Wild + Whole, will be putting together a quail dish for participants to follow along in creating while they watch and ask questions.

SOURCE: Pheasants Forever

NACD and NCF Release 2020 Annual Reports

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and their sister organization, the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) have just released the 2020 NACD Annual Report and 2020 NCF Annual Report! You can access them both online by clicking their respective covers below.

The 2020 NACD Annual Report summarizes the range of organizational accomplishments through fiscal year 2020, from NACD’s successful Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, to the Summer Board Meeting that led to the development of a comprehensive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. NACD continued their work in carrying out their mission of providing leadership and resources for conservation districts and state/territory associations everywhere. From their Technical Assistance Grant program (NACD Report, page 25) to their ever-growing Soil Health Champions Network (NACD Report, page 28), Urban Agriculture Conservation work (NACD Report, page 33) and their inaugural Friends of NACD District Grant Program (NACD Report, page 31), they moved their work forward despite the pandemic raging on across our country’s communities. They even created a COVID-19 resource webpage to help support districts support their community members.  

The NCF has also worked hard to adapt its programs to continue supporting the delivery of locally-led conservation and the creation of future conservation leaders in a virtual world. From virtual NCF-Envirothon competitions (NCF Report, page 15) to virtual webinars for the Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI) (NCF Report, page 25), NCF has found ways to continue its mission and strengthen its brand identity in spite of the pandemic.



We expect tree orders to be available for pick up the week of April 19th

We will call or email customers when the order is ready to pick up.

Thanks for your business!


In celebration of World Water Day and spring greenup, we’re sharing tips and insights to help you understand ways to maximize lawn water use efficiency all season long.

#1 You can water less

How much water do lawns really need? It may be a surprise, but our lawns are well adapted to thrive with way less water than many realize. The majority of lawns rely on rainfall for all their water needs, especially in the moderate spring and fall months. During summer when irrigation begins, try comparing how your lawn responds to a few minutes less of watering and then keep adjusting your watering duration times down until you reach the balance of savings and healthy green grass.

#2 Mow high and feed

Did you know how you mow affects how much water your lawn needs? The easiest and best step you can take when mowing is to set your mower at the highest setting. Mowing high puts less stress on your grass and encourages more rooting. Thus, the higher you mow, the deeper your roots will grow and reach more water than a lawn that is mowed short. Fertilizing in the spring and fall months also gives your lawn the resources it needs to grow well, prepare itself for summer stress and bounce back afterward. A thick, dense lawn helps capture water by slowing its runoff and channeling more into the soil and roots versus a thin, bare lawn. Studies show how feeding helps grass grow greener and do better with less water than an unfed but well-watered grass.

#3 Be smart about irrigation

Whether you have simple above ground hoses or an advanced in-ground irrigation system, how you water makes all the difference for optimal grass health and water conservation. The single best time to water is early morning, as this helps hydrate your grass plants before high-noon heat and wind. Avoid evening watering, as this can make lawns more susceptible to certain diseases. Watering daily for 10-15 minutes per zone does a better job of matching where roots are in the top few inches of the soil. Deep watering often puddles, which can cause runoff and even go past the roots in soil. Periodically, check sprinkler head patterns, look for and repair any leaks, and think about upgrading to a smart irrigation controller, which watches the weather to estimate water needs automatically for you.

“By implementing these tips, homeowners can directly impact their local environment,” said NACD President Michael Crowder. “Efficient water use and good yard management can ensure plenty of high-quality water is available for conserving habitat and biodiversity locally.”

Homeowners can learn additional tips from their local conservation district, as well as from the Backyard Conservation materials developed by NACD in partnership with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation.

SOURCE: National Association of Conservation Districts


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be supporting unique projects that offer alternative practices for conservation. Up to $75 million will be made available for new projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA).

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking proposals to fund up to $75 million in new, unique projects under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA) that take innovative and non-traditional approaches to conservation solutions at the local, regional and landscape scales. In making selections. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will prioritize projects related to climate smart agriculture and forestry.

NRCS will fund up to 15 projects this year through AFA, where partners have more flexibility in working directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be effectively implemented through the classic RCPP.

“Collaboration and partnership are leading to advanced conservation delivery on working lands, both rural and urban,” said Terry Cosby, Acting Chief of NRCS. “We want to continue funding projects that harness the power of partnership and innovation to develop solutions that benefit producers while conserving our natural resources.”

A significant portion of funds will address projects related to climate smart agriculture and forestry. These include projects related to carbon markets and new technologies. Meanwhile NRCS also strongly encourages proposals from RCPP projects that address the conservation needs of urban farmers in metropolitan areas, supporting access to healthy fresh food in historically underserved populated communities.

NRCS will execute AFAs through agreements with eligible lead partners who will be responsible for contracting directly with eligible producers and landowners to implement conservation activities on the ground.

NRCS is accepting AFA project proposals now through May 28. Proposals must be submitted through the RCPP portal. Information about this request for proposals is available on grants.gov. A list of last year’s awarded projects can be found here.

AFA projects were initially authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill, while the 2018 Farm Bill enhanced the AFA provision and authorized NRCS to award up to 15 AFA projects annually. Project types that may be suited to AFAs, as highlighted by the 2018 Farm Bill statute include:

  • Projects that use innovative approaches to leverage the federal investment in conservation.
  • Projects that deploy a pay-for-performance conservation approach.
  • Projects that seek large-scale infrastructure investment that generate conservation benefits for agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forest owners.

The fiscal 2021 AFA funding announcement incorporates policy updates following publication of the RCPP final rule, including:

  • The revised RCPP Critical Conservation Areas (announced in August 2020).
  • Updated RCPP AGI waiver policy.
  • Clarifying language about when RCPP activities can be carried out on public lands.
  • New policy language developed for AFA easements.
  • New policy language to highlight that producer “cost-share” funding related to implementation of conservation activities, like land management practices or systems, cannot be counted as partner contributions for the project.

Farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners apply for RCPP projects through project partners, like conservation districts, producer associations, water districts, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, institutions of higher education and nongovernmental organizations.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity, and natural resources including our soil, air and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including State, local, and Tribal governments.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

South Dakota Resource Concerns

What is a resource concern? A Resource Concern is defined as an expected degradation of the soil, water, air, plant, or animal resource base to an extent the sustainability or intended use of the resource is impaired. Because NRCS quantifies or describes resource concerns as part of a comprehensive conservation planning process that includes client objectives, human and energy resources are considered components of the resource base.

Learn about the concerns:


Conservation Clips is a weekly collection of articles distributed by NACD that provides members and partners with the latest news in what’s driving conservation. These articles are not indicative of NACD policy and are the opinions of their authors, unless otherwise noted. If you have a relevant submission or need assistance with accessing articles, please contact the NACD Communications Team.

NACD Blog: Conservation Professional Profile: Ellen Cobb 
By Joe Otto

Ellen Cobb was NACD’s first executive leader. At its first meeting in 1946, NACD’s founding board of directors appointed Cobb as Executive Secretary.

NACD Blog: NACD’s Government Affairs Update on 2021 Congressional Climate Hearings
By Coleman Garrison

With a new administration in the White House and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the conversation on climate change has been moving quickly. President Biden promised to act on climate change and included the agriculture industry in his plans.

NACD Blog: Butte SWCD recognizes longtime employee Frances Perkes
By Stephanie Barnes

When thinking of a person who embodies NACD’s commitment to conservation, long-term Butte Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) employee Frances Perkes comes to mind.


We’ve got another garden webinar planned for you, this time on the construction and planting of raised garden beds!

To sign up and receive the Zoom link for the webinar, email Alina.

See you there!


Oh, and daylight savings time starts this weekend too!


WASHINGTON, March 8, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to 23 national conservation practice standards through a posting in the Federal Register. The proposed revisions will publish March 9 with comments due April 8.

“NRCS wants to ensure that the standards used to carry out the conservation practices are relevant to local agricultural, forestry and natural resource needs,” Acting NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said. “We are revising conservation practice standards to make sure they are the best technology and address the needs of producers and the natural resources on their land.”

Proposed revisions to the national conservation practice standards include:

  • Stream Crossing — modification to allow vented fords as an alternative.
  • Waste Treatment – Milk House — inclusion as a new conservation practice for the treatment of greywater from the cleaning of milking equipment.
  • Energy Efficient Agricultural Operation — formerly known as Farmstead Energy Improvement, rewritten to focus on energy efficiency criteria, fire and electrical safety, flexibility, and manufacturer’s requirements.
  • Dry Hydrant — adding flexibility intended to encourage more landowners to install dry hydrants to meet fire suppression needs.

The 2018 Farm Bill required NRCS to review all 169 existing national conservation practices to seek opportunities to increase flexibility and incorporate new technologies to help the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners better protect natural resources on their working lands. In 2020, 57 conservation practice standards were updated after public review and are available on the NRCS website. NRCS’s conservation practices offer guidelines for planning, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices nationwide.

Submitting Comments

NRCS is encouraging agricultural producers, landowners, organizations, Tribes, and others that use its conservation practices to comment on these revised conservation practice standards. NRCS will use public comments to further enhance its conservation practice standards.

The proposed revisions to the 23 conservation practice standards are available on the Federal Register. Comments can be made through regulations.gov, or by mail or hand delivery. Click here to download the proposed revisions document.

More Information

NRCS offers a variety of conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Learn more on the NRCS Conservation Practices webpage or by viewing the Conservation at Work video series.   


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


Vegetable Garden 101 Webinar Today!

Zoom link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81193491958?pwd=UW4wVEJwaGJwdWdPZ0tjbWNoVk8xZz09

Today’s webinar will be recorded and sent to all who signed up to receive the links. The video, along with any supporting documents, will be emailed out after the webinar.

If you have any questions or if you would like to sign up to receive these recordings, email Alina.

See you soon!


Bob Woerman, Chairman of the Board for the Minnehaha Conservation District, died on February 28, 2021. We are grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him. Peace to Bob’s memory, as well as to his family and friends.

Robert “Bob” Lee Woerman
July 15, 1945 – February 28, 2021

Robert “Dr. Bob” Woerman, 75, Brandon, died Sunday, February 28, 2021, at the Dougherty Hospice Home in Sioux Falls.

Funeral Services will be 11am, Friday, March 5, 2021, at Brandon Lutheran Church, with visitation beginning at 9:30am.  Burial will follow at Brandon Lutheran Cemetery.  Masks are required.  The service will be live streamed at www.brandonlutheran.org. The family also requests that social distancing be respected for their health concerns.

Bob will be deeply missed by his wife, Jan; three daughters, Kristin Lee (Pat) Huxford, Sioux Falls, Kelly Marie Anderson, Sioux Falls, and Kari Jean Woerman, Sioux Falls; two grandchildren, Alexander Holloway, Iwakuni, Japan, and Hunter Brown, Sioux Falls; his siblings, John (Valerie) Woerman, Tekamah, NE, Joan (Dave) Collins, Houston, TX, and Jane (Hector) Sanchez, Lincoln, NE; and several nieces and nephews.