August 2017 NH Conservation Connection

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Look for a special edition of the Conservation Connection next week with articles written by our summer interns about their NRCS projects and experiences.  


NRCS Participates in Farming Workshop for Veterans 

By Heidi Konesko, NRCS Soil Conservationist

Agriculture can be a great career choice for veterans.  There are endless possibilities in the type of farming to get into depending on your interests and resources, and there are a wide variety of agricultural service and support roles to fill as well, ranging from farm equipment and machinery repair to pest scouting, and much more.  Any level of education and skill set can find a matching place in the industry of food production.  More...


NH NRCS Hosts Conservation Planner Training 

NRCS Certified Conservation Planner coursework is required for all staff working directly with the public and consists of several in-person and online training courses. In August, 25 students from ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, and NJ attended a 3.5 day course on conservation training in Dover, NH. Afternoons were spent in the field at Brandmoore farm in Rollinsford, NH, looking at a wide variety of agricultural systems, such as: grazing, cropland, barnyard, forestry and wildlife. The class works to connect classroom lessons with real word practical conservation solutions. Farm operators Phil Brand and Becky Moore provided insight into the management of organic dairy management and fruit and vegetable production. 


Congresswoman Kuster Holds Farm Bill Listening Sessions

Over two weeks in August, Congresswoman Kuster heard from constituents at Farm Bill Listening Sessions in Boscawen, Hanover, and Colebrook, NH.  NRCS State Conservationist, Rick Ellsmore attended along with regional NH NRCS representatives to answer questions that arose with regard to NRCS programs.  As a member of the Congressional Agriculture Committee, the first from NH in 72 years, Rep. Kuster was interested in hearing input from the public in preparation for creating the new Farm Bill legislation.  She gave attendees at the meetings an overview of the Farm Bill process and her focus on ensuring that small NH farmers aren’t forgotten as the new bill is drafted.  She said she is trying to reduce burdensome reporting requirements for small farmers so they can also benefit from Farm Bill Programs, and would like to see three NRCS programs modified to help farmers transitioning to organic farming. 



NRCS Educates At the Woods, Water, and Wildlife Festival

Matt Larkin, NRCS Soil Conservationist, staffed an information booth during the Woods, Water, and Wildlife Festival at a hayride stop alongside the Salmon Falls River. He spoke with an estimated 150 visitors about the importance of forest health, water quality, and wildlife habitat and how NRCS is available to assist landowners address resource concerns on their land. Also to make it fun for the children, Matt had nets for them to catch critters to teach them what they were with some of the unlucky bugs tossed to some fish anxiously waiting for their free meal. The kids had a good time and the adults learned something too. 


NH NRCS Employees Learn More about Cultural Resources Through SCRAP

By Peter Whitcomb, NRCS Assistant State Soil Scientist


The SCRAP (State Conservation and Rescue Archaeology Program) summer field school is run by the Archeological Bureau in the Division of Historical Resources of the NH Department of Cultural Resources.  The goal of cultural resources training is to provide NRCS staff with a basic understanding of local archeological concepts and to have a better knowledge of cultural resource concerns when providing conservation planning and field work.  More... 


NH State Tech Committee to Meet September 14th

The State Technical Committee is comprised of both governmental and non-governmental leaders representing environmentally related disciplines.  The committee is chaired by Rick Ellsmore, the New Hampshire NRCS State Conservationist.  The Committee analyzes conservation issues and recommends guidelines for conservation programs.  The Committee provides a public forum for input and facilitates maximum coordination between federal, state, local, and private conservation efforts.  More...

The meeting will be held in Concord at the Society for the Protection of NH Forests from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.


Case studies show big economic benefits of soil health practices

Reprinted press release from the National Association of Conservation Districts

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2017 – Soil health practices such as cover crops and no-till can result in an economic return of over $100 per acre, according to a set of case studies jointly released by the National Association of Conservation Districts and Datu Research, LLC.  More...


Don’t Get Stung Mowing Old Fields This Summer

The Grafton County Conservation District is looking for willing landowners who are mowing old fields full of goldenrod and other wildflowers to simply mow mid to late October after most flowers are done blooming and pollinators have slowed down.  More...

Application deadline

NRCS Program Deadlines:

There are no more ranking/batching dates for fiscal year 2017.  However, applications for those programs are also accepted on a continuous basis and will be evaluated and ranked in the next fiscal year.  


To learn more, please visit the NRCS NH Programs page 

Need Help Applying for NRCS Programs?

Contact your local USDA Service Center


Other Grant Opportunity:

New Hampshire Conservation Grant Program

The New Hampshire State Conservation Committee manages the Conservation Grant Program, which awards competitive grants annually to physical and tangible environmental projects that foster stewardship and the sustainability of New Hampshire's natural environment. The program's six focus areas include water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat, soil conservation, best management practices, conservation planning, and land conservation.
Applications are due on September 15, 2017. 


Calendar of Events

A running calendar of events can now be found on the NRCS NH Website.


September 06, 2017    Moonlight Walk with Sally Cornwell

September 09, 2017    Stonehouse Forest Tour

September 15, 2017    Grafton County Conservation District Fall Pollinator Tour

September 15, 2017 - September 16, 2017    Source To Sea Cleanup Volunteer Opportunity

September 15, 2017    Herpetology Basics: With an Emphasis on the Reptiles of Southern New Hampshire

September 16, 2017 - September 17, 2017    Deep Change 2017: Healing Ourselves, Healing Our World

September 21, 2017    Cheshire County Conservation Commission Potluck

September 23, 2017    Back Channel Islands Kayak Adventure

September 28, 2017    Policy Advocate Workshop

September 28, 2017    MCCD Local Work Group Meeting

October 03, 2017    Film Screening: Dirt! The Movie

October 05, 2017    Soil Judging Contest

October 14, 2017    Bodwell Farm Tour

October 16, 2017    Inagural Symposium on Race & Equity in New Hampshire

October 19, 2017    Book Discussion: Dirt: the Erosion of Civilizations and Growing a Revolution

October 30, 2017    North Country Fruit & Vegetable Seminar

November 02, 2017 - November 03, 2017    NH Assoc.of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting & Working Lands Conference

November 03, 2017    Public talk by David Montgomery - Growing a Revolution

Featured Photos


Photo by Keri Neal, District Conservationist

bat box

Bat Box:  Photo by Matt Larkin, Soil Conservationist

The purpose of installing bat boxes (which is an NRCS structures for wildlife practice) is to improve nesting habitat near forested wetlands. Many bats species populations have declined due to an invasive fungus called white nose syndrome.


Porcupine:  Photo by Catherine Magee, Soil Conservationist