more from the NACD meeting

Monday General Session Recap
The 69th NACD Annual Meeting started off with a great General Session on Monday, February 2. Past NACD President Gene Schmidt presided over the event that included a keynote address by Major General Michael Wehr, Commander for the Mississippi Valley Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The program also included an address by current NACD President Earl Garber, NACD CEO John Larson and a Louisiana welcome address by Lt. Governor of Louisiana Jay Dardenne.

Other highlights of the program were a performance by the Chalmette High School girls choir led by Annelise Cassar, musical director, and the presentation of the colors by the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program.

Tuesday General Session Livecast
For those of you who were not able to attend this year’s Annual Meeting, you can follow along with us on Tuesday, February 3 when we will live-cast the General Session (9-11:30 AM CT) thanks to the generous services of Brain Allmer of BARN Media. The live webcast can be found on the BARN Media Livestream page or by visiting NACD’s Annual Meeting page.

NACD’s Annual Meeting page also has a link to the full meeting program, a template press release for attendees to use locally, and a link to the daily Annual Meeting coverage page. Don’t forget you can also follow along with us on Facebook ( and Twitter @NACDconserve. Look for the hashtag #NACDAnnualMeeting.

Annual Meeting Leadership Luncheon
Monday’s Leadership Luncheon featured keynote speaker Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Harden spoke to a full house of Annual Meeting participants about the importance of not only taking a leadership role, but in being a devoted leader.

Harden pressed the necessity of looking to the past for leadership cues, but not dwelling there at the expense of forward progress. "Look back, but don’t stare," Harden cautioned. "This is about the future," Harden added, "we can do more, we can do better and we can be in front."

Deputy Secretary Harden also spoke about recent Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) award decisions and the critical role of conservation districts in those accepted proposals. She spoke to the importance of harnessing the tools and relationships conservation districts already have in bringing new people and organizations together for conservation programs like RCPP.

"It’s about digging deeper, being stronger. The future has never been brighter or more hopeful for conservation districts if you remember what leadership is about," Harden said.

2015 Conservation Expo and Share Fair
Two highlights of the NACD Annual Meeting each year are the Conservation Expo and the Share Fair.

The Conservation Expo opened Sunday, February 1, with a record 34 exhibitors. Annual meeting attendees flocked to see exhibits that included representation from conservation-related businesses, nonprofit organizations and government conservation partners.

Soil health was a popular theme at several booths in this the International Year of Soils. Attendees also had a chance for a hands-on experience with the National Resources Conservation Service’s Client Gateway, which is being rolled out in phases across the country. The Expo will be open through Tuesday, February 3.

2015 marks the fourth year for the NACD District Share Fair. This year’s event showcased the accomplishments and programs of ten districts and state associations to more than 400 visitors.

Visit the NACD website to see the variety of projects shared at this year’s event. If you are interested in participating at the 2016 conference in Reno, Nev., applications will be available on the NACD Annual Meeting page next summer.

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