Please make plans to join TACD, our 95 Soil Conservation Districts and our partners in celebrating 75 years of protecting our states natural resources.
Park Vista by Hilton, Gatlinburg, March 2nd through March 5th, 2019
We will be celebrating with our first District to be authorized in 1940, Sumner County Soil Conservation District, and the 95th District, Lake County Soil Conservation District, authorized in 1959. And, celebrate working together on our mutual goals through our Association’s establishment in 1943.
We will be looking back at our successes, but we will also look to the next 75 years and what our Soil Conservation Districts can do to meet the challenges ahead.
For this special year, we are beginning our convention one day early with the TACD Board of Officers and Directors meeting Saturday afternoon, March 2nd. We will be making reduced price tickets available for a group to attend Dolly Parton’s Stampede on Saturday evening. Our first official convention event is an Inspirational Program on Sunday morning. Be checking back for the full program, events and speakers that will be added over the next month and beyond.
So, make your plans to be with us in Gatlinburg in March. It’s a great place to be so come a couple days early or stay a couple days after to enjoy the Great Smokey Mountains and the surrounding area. The Park Vista will honor the convention room rate of $94 for 3 days before and after our convention. Just call the hotel and they will add those days outside our convention days.
To access the TACD Convention Page on our website, click on the 75th Anniversary symbol to the right and that page will have a link to hotel reservations, our convention registration form and other information. Remember, check back often as we add additional information.
NACD’s 72nd Annual Meeting in Nashville was a great success. With over 1,000 in attendance, the most in many years, TACD’s role from the Service Project at McGavock High School on Friday, the tour and Opry on Saturday, our booth on Soil Health and Grazing, the opening session on Monday to the TACD tours on Wednesday, TACD’s role was noted and successful.
First, I want to say a very big “thank you” to Carol Edwards from the Davidson County Soil Conservation District. Carol and I have worked together since last summer assisting NACD and have worked intensely since November to ensure the success of the convention and TACD’s role. I also want to thank Amy Dishner from Hawkins County and Daniel Rogers from Tipton County for volunteering with NACD and working from Saturday through Wednesday on the many tasks supporting the convention.
The NACD Executive Committee Service Project was with the McGavock High School FFA installing raised beds for use in the ag science classes. Providing financial support was the Davidson County SCD, Five Rivers RC&D and the Davidson County Farm Bureau. NACD Board Member Ray Weaver and President Kelly Stockton were also on hand to support the project. Jeanne Eastham and Carter Harris also attended to capture photos and video of the event. See a photo gallery of the Service Project at the end of this article.
Our tours were sold out and we received many comments on the value and enjoyment attendees experienced. On Saturday we had 56 for the Belmont and Travelers Rest tour and transported over 225 conventioneers to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Theater in downtown Nashville that evening. On Wednesday we had a full bus, 56, to both the Belle Mont tour and lunch and another to Lynchburg for lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s and tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery. Helping with the tours we had TACD Vice President Jim Bledsoe for the Opry and the Lynchburg trip, Shorty Beaty from Hamilton, Donna Knox from Sequatchie, Amy Dishner and TCDEA President Janice Gilispie on all the tours. Last but not least, Mendel Wade of Crocket County traveled as host on the Lynchburg trip on Wednesday before representing TN in the National Conservation Planning Partnership meeting on Thursday. Also, Sara Steelman met the group in Lynchburg and assisted with lunch and the tour. Sara also assisted with the Service Project at McGavock High School.
I must mention the Opening Ceremony on Monday. President Stockton opened the meeting with the invocation, the award-winning Nashville Police Color Guard came next then the national anthem by Ashley Brooks from MTSU and three FFA members from McGavock High School led us in the pledge. To complete the opening Bob Strasser from the Davidson County Board provided a welcome to their District with a very well received history of his family farm in Davidson County and the history of agriculture and conservation in the county. Bob then introduced Commissioner Jai Templeton doing the welcome to Tennessee. It is always a pleasure to have the Commissioner support us with his background in ag in west Tennessee. He just relates well to our group and we really appreciate him being there on a busy day for the administration with the state of the state address Monday evening.
One of the biggest hits was the Sunshine Girls, Aspen and Nova Northcutt, who preformed during the Leadership Luncheon on Monday. They are even better than when they were at the TACD convention in Franklin last year and we got hundreds of great comments on their performance. These young performers are something and their dad and music teacher were pretty good too!
The Tennessee District employees decorated the tables for Monday Night’s Auction in Tennessee style with 275 Moon Pies donated by Hamilton County SCD, and enjoyed by all I’ll add, Nashville Guitar Picks and free Educational DVD’s by Cowboy Dan which were donated by Davidson County SCD.
Number Fifty Profiles of Soil Health Heroes is Making a Difference in Soil Health in Obion County, Tennessee by Mike Hubbs, TACD Soil Health Specialist
In 2013, Tennessee NRCS and the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts (TACD) focused on soil health. In 2014, I was fortunate to be hired by TACD to disseminate soil health information to farmers, partners and NRCS. One way that I decided to achieve my objective was to identify farmers with significant achievements in soil health. Approximately four years ago, I began a series of articles to identify Tennessee farmers for their soil health achievements, Profiles of Soil Health Heroes. During my writing of the first article, I was not sure where these were going. Since then we have completed 49 articles. This article sets a milestone as the 50th Profiles of Soil Health Heroes.
I want to introduce Number 50 of Profiles of Soil Health Heroes. John Britt farms in Obion County, Tennessee. I met with John Britt along with Josh Richardson, District Conservationist, Union City, Tennessee on December 5, 2018. Most of the farms that John farms are on State Line road between Tennessee and Kentucky. He shared with me that he has farmed his entire life. John is a fourth-generation farmer. John's father passed away in 2002, and he became the main operator. His grandfather no-tilled in the 1970s. So, John not only grew up in a farming-family; he grew up being conservation-minded.
John is a one-man show on his operation1,400 acres. He produces corn, wheat, and soybeans. Wheat acreage is market driven. He grows a variety of group type soybeans to manage time. He grows 3.6s to 3.9s and then later plants 4.6s to 4.9s. This diversity of group type soybeans helps him spreads the time out for harvest of soybeans and corn. Also, John often focuses on earlier maturing soybeans to assure seeding of winter cover crops by October 15.
Soil Health Concepts Leading to On-Farm Prescription - Planting Green
I want to begin a new series of articles called Soil Health Concepts Leading to On-Farm Prescription. No one knows the farm as well as an individual farmer who is farming their own land. We consultants, agronomists, etc. provide the science of soil health and cover crop management. This series will address many topics that hopefully will lead to adoption by farmers prescribing these concepts on their individual farms.
I recently returned from meetingsin Iowa, where we held seven round-table discussions across the state with many producers, Conservation District Commissioners, and NRCS. One of the topics that came up in our discussions was planting green. The Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts (TACD) recently hosted Steve Groff (Cover Crop Coach, International Speaker, and Cover Crop Farmer) at three meetings. One of his topics was planting green. I am a subscriber of Cover Crop Innovators (covercropinnovators.com) that many cover croppers and consultants are members of this group. Cover crop innovators has a weekly webinar on cover crop topics. Recently, the group covered the 10 hottest trends in 2018, and the number one on the list was planting green. Prior to beginning this article, I quickly reviewed Planting Green on the internet. Many articles were available. I selected three: John Deere, The Furrow, Warming Up to Planting Green; Lancasterfarming.com, 7 keys to Success for Planting into Green Cover Crops; and Penn State Extension, Planting Green - A New Cover Crop Management Technique. The Recent National No-till Farmer's Conference at Indianapolis also had topics on, yes you guessed it, Planting Green.
I began writing Profiles of Soil Health Heroes in December of 2014. Since then we have accomplished 50 Soil Health Heroes. In many of these, I share the farmers' testimonies that many are planting green. So, this topic is not new for Tennessee, but it is one of the hottest topics in the cover crop conversations.
The groups below helped to make the 2015 TACD Convention possible. We want to express our sincere appreciation to these sponsors for assisting us in recognizing contributions in the soil and water conservation efforts in Tennessee.