Monthly Archives: April 2012

Arbor Day in Reubens

An Arbor Day Celebration was held on April 13th in the City of Reubens. Coordinating with the Reubens City Council & Mayor Luke Lowe for the event was Lewis Soil Conservation District, Idaho Department of Lands, Lewis County Commissioner, Bob Reggear & Sheila Hasselstrom of Reggear Tree Farm.

Reggear Tree Farm donated over 20 conservation trees. They, along with 60 seedlings donated by Western Forest Systems, Idaho Forest Products & community members, were planted next to the new drain field in Reubens.

Willis Humphrey used his backhoe to dig the holes to plant the conservation trees. Volunteers from the area that helped with the planting of these trees & seedlings were Elaine Sonnen & Karol Holthaus of Lewis Soil Conservation District, Clark Christianson of Idaho Department of Lands, Don Davis, Lewis County Commissioner, DeeDee & Connor Morris, Emma Grimes, Cheryl & Amanda Young “Fun 4 All 4-H club” members/parents. Additional volunteers were Mark Smith & Tim Tevebaugh, of Idaho Department of Lands. Wilson Lowe, Byron Edwards, Jacob Briggs, Toby Uhlenkott, Tom & Richard Sonnen.

Arbor Day was the idea of J. Sterling Morton in 1872. He helped start a new holiday in Nebraska dedicated to tree planting. It is estimated that over 1 million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day. Idaho celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday of April each year which is also National Arbor Day. Actual dates of events differ for each area due to planting times.

This post was written by Elaine Sonnen, Information & Education Coordinator for the Lewis Soil Conservation District.


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Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Conservation Programs

On Thursday, April 26, the Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry will hold a hearing to listen to conservation stakeholders prior to development of the 2012 Farm Bill. NACD President Gene Schmidt will be testifying in front of the Committee. The hearing starts at 9:30am EDT (7:30am MDT and 6:30am PDT). You can watch the hearing by clicking here.

Last June, Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) began the effort when the Agriculture Committee held 11 audit hearings on agriculture programs to look for ways to improve programs for farmers, increase efficiency, and reduce spending.

“It’s important to consider a variety of perspectives when writing comprehensive legislation. We are continuing our efforts to gather as much information as possible so we can write sound and effective farm policy that works for all of agriculture. We have reviewed spending trends and have heard from our producers on the ground. Now it’s time for national agricultural leaders and stakeholders to present their views on farm policy,” said Chairman Frank Lucas.

IASCD sent a letter to our federal delegation regarding vital conservation programs in the Farm Bill. You can click here to read the letter we sent.

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IASCD Thanks Randy Purser For Serving As Board President

Earlier this week, the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation District (IASCD) Board of Directors sent a thank you letter to Randy Purser for his service as Board President.

The Board wrote, “As president of IASCD, you helped rebuild our relationship with key legislators, the Soil and Water Commission, and other conservation partners. We are also grateful for Michelle’s leadership of the Auxiliary, and we want to thank her for volunteering her time at our annual conference.”

You can read the letter in full by clicking here.

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IASCD Sends Letter To Idaho’s Federal Delegation Asking For Federal Conservation Funding

Today the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts (IASCD) sent a letter to Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) to share our thoughts in the vital federal conservation programs used by the fifty soil conservation districts in Idaho.  IASCD requested funding for NRCS Conservation Operations, the 319 Nonpoint Source grant program, and State and Private Forestry programs.

“We fully understand the difficult decisions the Appropriations Committee has to make in funding or eliminating federal programs.  IASCD fully supports a federal budget that reduces unnecessary government spending, and properly reflects our nation’s difficult economic situation.  However, agriculture and natural resource spending almost always bears the brunt of spending cuts.  For example, if we use the FY 2011 funding level adjusted for inflation, the NRCS Conservation Operations account in the FY13 Agricultural Appropriations budget would be $904 million, representing a 6% reduction from the FY2005 appropriated level.  We would request you support $904 million in this account for this budget.”

IASCD requested that 319 Nonpoint Source funding be set at $227 million, and State and Private Forestry programs be set at $355 million for FY ’13.  The 319 program has gained tremendous momentum in Idaho, especially in the southeast region.  The program allows for further improvements in water quality, as well as reductions in sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorous into the streams.  Districts in the northern part of the state use State and Private Forestry programs to improve forest health, reduce wildfire risk, and improve water quality, and steelhead trout habitat.

President Kit Tillotson’s letter to Congressman Simpson was written on behalf of the IASCD Board of Directors and member soil conservation districts.  A similar letter was also sent to Senator Mike Crapo, Senator James E. Risch, and Congressman Raul Labrador.

To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.

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Thank You To Our Envirothon Sponsors!

A few weeks ago, IASCD sent a letter to businesses across Idaho asking for their financial support for Envirothon. Already we have nine organizations donate funds to help support the event! A big THANK YOU to the following:

Northwest Farm Credit Services (first time donor!)
Lactalis American Group (first time donor!)
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
Thompson Creek Mining Company
Idaho Grain Producers Association
Idaho Barley Commission
Idaho Mining Association
National Wild Turkey Federation – Idaho Chapter

And a big thank you to the following conservation districts for their support!

Ada Soil and Water Conservation District
Clark Soil Conservation District
Bear Lake Soil and Water Conservation District
Boundary Soil Conservation District
Canyon Soil Conservation District
Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District

If you’d like to send a tax-deductible donation to the Idaho Envirothon, please contact Nancy or Bret. All funds go directly to Envirothon, and not to IASCD expenses, salaries, or benefits.

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Our March/April 2012 eNewsletter Has Been Posted!

We’re getting better and better at getting our new eNewsletter published at the beginning of each month.  Please click here to read this edition, and have a great holiday weekend!

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IASCD Elects New Officers; New Division VI Director

During an emergency conference call last night, the IASCD Board of Directors held an election of officers.  The Board elected Kit Tillotson (Division V) as president, Billie Brown (Division I) as vice-president, and Rick Rodgers (Division IV) as secretary.  Mr. Lynn Bagley, chairman of the Teton Soil Conservation District, also accepted the Division VI Director position.  Mr. Lynn McKee was approved as the new Division III Director during a conference call last month.

Congratulations to Kit, Billie, Rick, and Lynn Bagley!

2012 IASCD Board of Directors

President: Kit Tillotson

Vice President: Billie Brown

Secretary: Rick Rodgers

Treasurer: Steve Becker

Director: Lynn McKee

Director Lynn Bagley

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