2019 SWCS International Annual Conference

Agenda

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  • Sunday, July 28, 2019
  •  
    11:00 AM  -  6:30 PM
    Sunday Schedule
    11:00 AM Registration Desk Open
    1:00 PM *Workshop: Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT): A Farm Decision-Making Tool for Water Quality/Quantity Assessment and Trading Programs and a New Interface for APEX Model
    4:00 PM New Member and First Timer Orientation
    4:30 PM Student and Early Career Professional Development Session
    5:00 PM Regional Forum and Flavor Reception

    *Not included in standard registrations. Additional cost and ticket(s) required to attend.
     Optional  Closed 
     

    Workshops

    1:00 PM  -  5:00 PM
    Workshop: Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT): A Farm Decision-Making Tool for Water Quality/Quantity
    The Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT) is a user-friendly web-based program developed by Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER) staff in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture.

    NTT estimates nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), sediment losses, and crop yield from fields (or small watersheds) managed under a variety of cropping patterns and management practices through its linkage to the Agricultural Policy Environmental eXtender (APEX). It also accesses USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Web Soil Survey (or user input) and PRISM soil, and weather information. NTT provides producers, government officials, and other users with a fast, efficient, and common method of estimating the nitrogen and phosphorus credits generated from implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs) at the field and small watershed levels. The generated credit can be used for water quality/quantity trading, as well as other water quality and quantity programs. In addition, a new version of NTT (NTT-RE) is designed for researches and educators and provides an easy-to-use interface to access the APEX files and program. The information obtained from the tool can help producers to determine the most cost-effective conservation practice alternatives for their individual operations and provide them with more advantageous options to reduce the water contaminant while optimizing their crop production. During this workshop the two versions of NTT and its latest capabilities will be described and demonstrated. This workshop is recommended for everyone, including producers, researchers, educators, government employees, and NGO staff.
    Fee  Optional  Closed 
     

    SWCS Events

    4:00 PM  -  4:30 PM
    New Member and First Timer Orientation
    New members and conference first timers will have the opportunity to network with one another and discuss the conference with SWCS leadership and Board of Directors members who will share tips for navigating the agenda, connecting with fellow conservationists, and making the most out of time spent at the conference. Attendees are encouraged to use this time to ask questions about the conference and the Society. Attendance is also encourages for students and early career professionals.
     Optional  Closed 
    4:30 PM  -  5:00 PM
    Student and Early Career Professional Development Session
    SWCS will hold a special session for student and early career professional attendees. The session will highlight the professional development opportunities throughout the conference, discuss benefits of an SWCS membership, provide tips for engaging in professional networking, and more. Attendance is encouraged for professionals wishing to connect with students.
     Optional  Closed 
     

    Special Events

    5:00 PM  -  6:30 PM
    Regional Forum and Flavor Reception
    This year’s conference reception, organized by the Keystone Chapter of the SWCS, will include a selection of themed dishes/appetizers highlighting the local flavor of Pittsburgh, along with a cash bar. Spend time networking with colleagues from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM, followed by presentations from presenters and opportunity to ask questions. A local band will provide musical entertainment.

    In this opening session, three speakers will introduce the clean water challenges facing Pennsylvania and give a taste of the stewardship culture motivating farmers and other land managers in rural and urban areas to protect and enhance water quality while making a living on the land. Agricultural practices, nutrient input, mining, stormwater, and dams have left their mark on water quality in local and downstream communities across the major watersheds draining into the Chesapeake Bay, Ohio River, and Delaware Bay. While people across the nation watch closely what their fellow citizens are doing to care for the Chesapeake Bay, western Pennsylvanians are the stewards of the headwaters of the mighty Ohio River, a critical transportation artery connecting the East Coast and the Midwest. Additionally, at the eastern end of the Commonwealth, Pennsylvanians care for half of the highly urbanized Delaware Basin's land area, contributing to waters used by over 15 million people (roughly 5% of the nation's population). As an example of one of the great challenges—meeting total maximum daily load limits for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment set for the Chesapeake Bay in 2010 by the Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania—multiple Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) are being put into action to achieve bay restoration goals. All across the Commonwealth, major strides have already been made by farmers and municipalities toward overcoming "divides" and uniting to meet local and regional clean water goals. As these efforts continue, new avenues for sustainable and profitable agriculture are being explored.

    A ticket for this event is included with full conference registration. Additional tickets may be purchased online in advance for guests or at the registration table if available.
     Optional  Closed 
  • Monday, July 29, 2019
  •  
    6:30 AM  -  7:00 PM
    Monday Schedule
    6:30 AM Registration Desk Open
    7:00 AM State of Society Address, Regional Roundtables, and House of Delegates with Rolls and Coffee (For Chapter Leaders and Members)
    8:45 AM Conference Kickoff, Keynote Sponsor, and Pritchard Keynote Lecture
    10:00 AM Morning Break: Exhibit Hall and Poster Presentations Open
    10:30 AM Concurrent Sessions
    11:00 AM *ARCSE Lunch and Annual Business Meeting
    12:00 PM Lunch on Your Own
    1:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
    3:00 PM Afternoon Break: Exhibit Hall and Poster Presentations Open
    3:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
    5:00 PM Exhibitor and Poster Reception
    7:00 PM Silent Auction Ends

    *Not included in standard registrations. Additional cost and ticket(s) required to attend.
     Optional  Closed 
     

    SWCS Events

    7:00 AM  -  8:30 AM
    State of Society Address, Regional Roundtables, and House of Delegates (For Chapter Leaders/Members)
    Prior to the Conference Kickoff, the State of the Society Address will be delivered by Board Chair Rex Martin and CEO Clare Lindahl. The Regional Roundtables and House of Delegates will follow. Regional Roundtables provide chapter members an opportunity to meet with SWCS leadership and others from their region for a discussion on local events and issues. The House of Delegates session serves as platform for chapter leaders and members to communicate regional natural resource and chapter needs to SWCS leadership. A light breakfast will be provided for chapter leaders in attendance.
     Optional  Closed 
    8:45 AM  -  10:00 AM
    Conference Kickoff, Keynote Sponsor, and Pritchard Keynote Lecture
    The Conference Kickoff will be opened by Board Chair Rex Martin and CEO Clare Lindahl. This year’s keynote sponsor, Syngenta, will address the audience, followed by the Pritchard Keynote Lecture. Watch www.swcs.org/19AC for announcement of this year’s Pritchard Lecturer.
     Optional  Closed 
     

    Partner Events

    10:30 AM  -  5:00 PM
    Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Showcase
    The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in conjunction with SWCS, will host the CIG Showcase at the SWCS Annual Conference. Since 2004, CIG has supported the development of innovative natural resource conservation approaches and technologies on working lands.

    This year’s showcase includes an overview of the CIG program and three themed panels. The first panel highlights innovated ways to incentivize conservation. The second panel explores CIG projects that address water quality and quantity issues. The final panel includes presentations from CIG grantees demonstrating innovative technologies related to cover crops.

    This showcase runs from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Monday, July 29. Following the showcase, CIG project posters will be included in the poster presentation session held in the poster display area of the exhibit hall from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
     Optional  Closed 
    11:00 AM  -  1:30 PM
    Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE) Lunch and Annual Business Meeting
    The Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE) will hold its annual luncheon on Monday, July 29 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM with the social hour beginning at 11:00 AM. Luncheon speakers will include representatives from ARCSE, SWCS, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) at the state and national level. The 2019 luncheon reservation form will be available by April 15 at www.arcse.org/nFORMS.htm.
     Optional  Closed 
     

    SWCS Events

    5:00 PM  -  7:00 PM
    Exhibitor and Poster Reception
    This reception offers a prime opportunity to visit with exhibitors showcasing their newest technology, programs, products, and services. Attendees will have the opportunity to view posters and hear from the authors. This is also a great time to connect with potential business associates and reconnect with colleagues. A selection of appetizers will be served, along with a cash bar. A ticket for this event is included with full conference registration. Additional tickets may be purchased online in advance for guests or at the registration table if available.
     Optional  Closed 
  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019
  •  
    7:30 AM  -  5:00 PM
    Tuesday Schedule
    7:30 AM Registration Desk Open
    8:00 AM Plenary Sessions
    10:00 AM Morning Break: Exhibit Hall and Poster Presentations Open
    10:30 AM Concurrent Sessions
    12:00 PM Awards Luncheon
    1:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
    3:00 PM Afternoon Break: Exhibit Hall and Poster Presentations Open
    3:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
     Optional  Closed 
     

    Partner Events

    10:30 AM  -  3:00 PM
    Conservation Practice Standards and Tools Showcase
    The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in conjunction with SWCS, will host the Conservation Practice Standards and Tools Showcase at the SWCS Annual Conference. In order to enhance the customer experience in receiving conservation assistance, NRCS is undertaking efforts to modernize and streamline our conservation delivery process. This showcase includes a review of conservation practice standards, state-created innovations, and an update on the development of the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART). Presentations in this track will highlight progress to automate processes, reduce time between requests for assistance and on-the-ground conservation actions, and implement changes authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. Come learn about innovations and strategies that help minimize complexity and eliminate redundancy to accelerate the delivery of comprehensive conservation planning, ecological science-based systems, engineering practices, and highly erodible land and wetland conservation compliance assistance.
     Optional  Closed 
     

    SWCS Events

    12:00 PM  -  1:30 PM
    Awards Luncheon
    Winners of this year’s SWCS awards will be honored during this luncheon. A ticket for this event is included with full conference registration and Tuesday-only registration. Additional tickets may be purchased online in advance for guests or at the registration table if available.
     Optional  Closed 
  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019
  •  
    7:00 AM  -  6:00 PM
    Wednesday Schedule
    7:00 AM Registration Desk Open
    7:45 AM *Tour #1: Agriculture in an Ever-Changing World
    8:30 AM Concurrent Sessions
    10:00 AM Morning Break
    10:30 AM Concurrent Sessions
    12:00 PM Conference Adjourns
    1:00 PM *Tour #2: Growing Urban Ag in Post-Industrial Communities
    1:00 PM *Tour #3: Restoration of Impacted Landscapes
    1:00 PM CEAP Watershed Assessment Studies Annual Meeting

    *Not included in standard registrations. Additional cost and ticket(s) required to attend.
     Optional  Closed 
     

    Tours

    7:45 AM  -  5:15 PM
    Tour #1: Agriculture in an Ever-Changing World
    This tour will focus on how producers of agriculture in western Pennsylvania have adapted their farming practices in response to the changing dynamics of the population. The first stop is at a multigenerational dairy, Grassycrest Farms. This large, conventional dairy is continuously adopting new conservation practices to protect soil and water quality and is most recently preparing to install a methane digester to supply electricity to the local community. The second stop features Kingview Meads, producers who appreciate the hard work of honey bees in producing their mead wine. A tour of the idyllic property will reveal how they are working with local beekeeping associations and educating the public about the importance of pollinators. Following the picnic lunch that will be provided by Freedom Farms (Farm Kings), the tour will proceed through the nearby Amish village of Volant and surrounding farms. The Amish have been located in this area for over a hundred years and continue to maintain their distinct lifestyle. The final stop features Ronald Gargasz’s Organic Beef Farm, which supplies grass-fed beef directly to Pittsburgh through restaurants and CSAs, in addition to local freezer beef sales. Gargasz has raised organic products since the early 1980s and has participated in university-sponsored research studies that have explored why grass-fed meats are healthier that grain-finished beef. All these farms are within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh and showcase the different types of agriculture in western Pennsylvania. Agricultural practices and products must continue to adapt to remain relevant and essential in this ever-changing world.
    Fee  Optional  Closed 
    1:00 PM  -  5:35 PM
    Tour #2: Growing Urban Agriculture in Postindustrial Communities
    Urban agriculture is a growing trend in many cities across the country, but its origins trace back to the victory gardens of World War II and the home plots of immigrants hoping to maintain a culture and feed their families. In the Pittsburgh region, where earlier economic downturn left thousands of vacant and abandoned plots of land, many individuals and organizations are reclaiming this legacy and driving it forward as they seek to create small businesses, feed their communities with fresh produce, and educate local residents and new farmers. This tour will start at Grow Pittsburgh’s Braddock Farms, a one-acre nonprofit operation in the shadow of an active steel mill. The farm serves a dual purpose: growing produce for local residents of the community and educating youth through apprenticeship programs and workshops. The tour will then travel to the Homewood Historical Urban Farm, where the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers Co-Op is reclaiming the legacy of black urban agriculture, fighting food apartheid by growing fresh vegetables within the community, and advocating for social change and equitable land policies. Last, the group will visit the new Hilltop Urban Farm, which is the largest urban farm in the United States. Established on the former site of the St. Clair Public Housing Project, the urban farm is in the pilot year of its Farmer Incubation Program after a season of soil remediation and cover cropping. The farm provides land and training to urban farmers as they seek to grow their businesses and professionalize their operations. Additionally, there is a school garden for nearby students and a newly planted orchard.
    Fee  Optional  Closed 
    1:00 PM  -  5:35 PM
    Tour #3: Restoration of Impacted Landscapes
    Humans have made their mark on the soil and water of southwest Pennsylvania, from the extraction industries of coal and natural gas, to the numerous steel mills of Pittsburgh’s industrial heyday, to more recent redevelopment and ex-urban growth. This tour will focus on three projects that have sought to mitigate, remediate, and restore impacted landscapes in creative ways. First, the tour will visit Sygan Road in North Fayette Township, where a municipal project funded by the Allegheny County Conservation District and Pennsylvania’s Dirt, Gravel, and Low-Volume Roads Program returned water to a wetland that was desiccated after development upslope shifted drainage patterns. The project creatively captured and redirected spring and stormwater flows through a series of pipes and also replaced an undersized culvert in an adjacent stream to prevent restrictive and concentrated flow and reduce erosion. Next, the group will tour the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, where years of native habitat plantings and the creation of a passive treatment system for mine drainage have countered the soil and water impacts of historic coal mining. The nonprofit that manages the site has created a vibrant and ever-growing system with research and educational programs that receives over 300,000 visitors a year. At the final tour stop, attendees will walk along park trails in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park and 9-Mile Run. The small (6.5 acre) 9-Mile Run watershed flows into Pittsburgh’s Frick Park and continues through a former dump site where 20 million tons of slag, an end-stage waste product from steel production, was dumped between 1922 and 1972. This watershed is home to the largest urban stream restoration project in the country and numerous ongoing restoration efforts by local nonprofits, the City of Pittsburgh, and the 9-Mile Run Watershed Association.
    Fee  Optional  Closed 
     

    Partner Events

    1:00 PM  -  5:00 PM
    USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Watershed Assessment Studies Annual Meeting
    Please join USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) CEAP scientists to learn about and discuss the CEAP Watershed Assessments, the small watershed studies within CEAP. This year’s meeting will follow the general SWCS Conference program. Presentations in the CEAP meeting will feature ongoing ARS CEAP Watershed Assessments, review of the effects of conservation practices that have been measured, and major take-home messages of projects.
     Optional  Closed 
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