Conference Information

Date: June 4 - 5, 2018

Location: Bay City, DoubleTree by Hilton

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Monday Session Descriptions

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Tuesday Session Descriptions

8:00 - 8:50am    Breakout Sessions A
State Conservationist Meeting with NRCS Staff 
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff meeting will with the State Conservationist will discuss, Critical Operations in the State, Expectations and provide insight into what lies ahead for the agency.

MAEAP Talk with Joe and Meredith
Do you want to know what MAEAP is up to? Come out to MAEAP Talk with Joe and Meredith. This session is jammed packed with the latest happenings in the MAEAP program. From a new MAEAP brochure to cost-share offering, Joe and Meredith take you on informational roller coaster. Join us for this interactive discussion.

District Director Roundtable
This facilitated roundtable for directors will provide participants the opportunity for discussions on topics of interest.

FBB Update and Roundtable
Farm Bill Biologist program updates and roundtable on current topics of interest.

FAP Update and Roundtable
Updates on the Forestry Assistance Program, including reporting, future trainings, and the general status of the program. This session also serves as a facilitated forum for foresters, district managers, board members, and MDARD staff to share ideas and address concerns that are affecting local programs

CTAI Update
This session will provide the latest updates on the grant as well as provide an opportunity for the staff to ask questions and meet with their fellow CTAI.

9:00 - 9:50am   Breakout Sessions B
Coordinated Employee Development Strategies
Conservation Employees are responsible for developing their abilities using their own resources as well as opportunities provided by the Partnership. Employees work with their assigned supervisors to evaluate their performance and identify any areas needing improvement. Employees work with their supervisors to create Individual Development Plans (IDP) detailing the activities the employee can undertake to develop his or her competencies. This session will focus on the coordinated effort between the partnership for providing training and staff development opportunities to employees.

MAEAP Roundtable
This roundtable will provide an opportunity for techs to work in small groups and share ideas about working with customers, quirky situations on-farm, event planning and other topics.

Decoding Property Tax Exemptions
Michigan offers a variety of property tax incentive programs for woodland owners. Qualified Agriculture, Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program (PA 116), and Principal Residence Exemptions (homestead) all provide different benefits and offer different considerations. Rich Harlow, Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program Manager, discusses how woodland owners fit in and what real benefits exist within each option.

Adding Meaningful Invasive Species Messaging to Your Constituent Engagements and Education Outreach
Come learn about easy opportunities and resources for incorporating clear, consistent invasive species messaging into your routine presentations, activities, and speaking engagements. Whether your audience is land owners, recreational groups, educators or students, we’ll cover information to help you quickly and simply raise invasive species awareness and provide actionable tips, and resources that make a difference.

Innovative Program and Operations Funding Methods from Across the Nation
How do districts in other states fund their operations? Join Mike Brown, Executive Director of the National Association of State Conservation Agencies for a look at the innovative ways districts are managing their business in states where operational funding is a challenge.

Freedom of Information Act - What You Need to Know
Learn about FOIA requirements from MDARD's Director of Legal Affairs and what you need to know in the event you get a FOIA request.

Michigan’s NEW CRP SAFE: Southern Michigan Pheasant & Monarch Recovery
Michigan was fortunate to be the only state awarded a CRP SAFE this year.  The Southern Michigan Pheasant & Monarch Recovery SAFE will provide 40,000 acres of grassland to positively impact important wildlife species while protecting soil and water quality in Michigan.  This session will highlight details of the new program including eligible area, practices, seed mixes and a new early successional grassland option.  Enrollment is expected to begin in early June so this session is very timely for staff in southern Michigan. 

10:20 - 11:10am     Breakout Sessions C
Whats Wrong with this Picture
Pictures tell a thousand words. Let’s look at some actual farm pictures and brainstorm about potential issues and determine the best MAEAP solution. Sometimes the answer is as clear as mud. Get ready for this fun and interactive session!   

Forest Stewardship Council Certification for Family Forest Owners
The Sustainable Resources Institute, Inc. (SRI) manages an FSC Forest Management/Chain of Custody Group Certificate for landowners and a Chain of Custody certificate for Master Loggers. Membership in the certificates is available to private and public woodland owners, and Certified Michigan Master Loggers*. Don Peterson, Executive Director of SRI, will present information on FSC certification options and how conservation districts might play a role moving forward.

Whether you are bringing volunteers into the field for monitoring, hosting a nature walk or preparing for a restoration project, there are basic steps you can take to assure that you and your team are preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species.  Learn how to create and use simple decontamination kits, how to assess and manage for invasives before construction or restoration, and how to share best management practices with collaborators and contractors to assure long-term project success.

It's About Dam Time
"How hard can this be?" Follow Eaton Rapids resident, Russ Hicks, as he pursued his seven-year quest to remove a 100 year-old low-head dam on the Grand River.

Budgeting in QuickBooks - Part I
A review of the budgeting process, from pre-planning for the upcoming year to approval of the appropriations act.

Conservation District Tree and Plant Sales Update
Learn about changes to licensing requirements for 2019 and updates on MDARD policies affecting CD tree and plant sales.

Effective Use of Conservation Planning and Programs
This session will help participants understand the NRCS planning process and the financial assistance programs available through USDA-NRCS. Carol Schadd, District Conservationist, will discuss conservation planning and the supporting technology used in to assist clients in making decisions resulting in conservation plans that protect, conserve, and enhance natural resources and meet the client's needs. Becky Otto, EQIP Coordinator, will discuss the voluntary programs available to eligible landowners and agricultural producers to provide financial and technical assistance to help manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. 

11:20am - 12:10pm     Breakout Sessions D
New Technologies for Planning Software and Practice Certifications
Update on Conservation desktop release dates, end date for Toolkit, ecological sciences job approval authority designations by practice standard.

Getting Your GMO Questions Answered 101
Research and technology on GMOs as well as how to communicate with clientele.

Understanding Taxable Value Affidavit in the Qualified Forest Program
Many recognize the year-to-year 16 mill property tax reduction associated with enrollment in the Qualified Forest Program. A lesser-known benefit is the Taxable Value Affidavit, which prevents the “uncapping” of the enrolled property’s taxable value upon a change in ownership. Scott Zeeb, Resource Analyst with the Qualified Forest Program, explains transfers to first affinities, when and how long a property must be enrolled to receive the benefit, and the responsibilities of new QFP landowners. This often-forgotten benefit can help landowners afford wooded property.

Low Head Dams, "Drowning Machine"  Killers in Our Rivers
The hydrology and dynamics related to aging low-head dams make them.

Get to Know Farm Service Agency Programs
Learn more about the many programs administered by the Farm Service Agency – from Apples to Zucchini, there is sure to be a program that can benefit your customers! The session will start with a brief history of the FSA and detail how the County Committee system works. Next, we’ll walk through basic program eligibility and learn how FSA maintains farm records. Finally the group will review the many programs available – who qualifies and how to sign-up.

Budgeting in QuickBooks - Part II
Continued: A review of the budgeting process, from pre-planning for the upcoming year to approval of the appropriations act.

Coaching to Develop and Retain Top Talent
Organizations are struggling with turnover and finding good candidates in this tight labor market. So, they must look to all facets of their HR programs – including supervisor and manager development - to overcome these challenges. This session will explain how improving the coaching skills of supervisors can support both employee development and employee retention. It will also describe the skills and competencies needed for effective coaching. 

12:30 - 1:45pm    Lunch and Keynote Presentation
Sustaining Conservation Districts
Sustainability - we see this term used frequently today.  What does sustainability mean in the context of conservation? How does sustainability affect agricultural markets, and what is the potential impact of sustainability on conservation delivery?  Join Mike Brown, Executive Director of the National Association of State Conservation Agencies for a look at sustaining conservation districts into the future.  

2:00 - 4:00pm    Post Event
State Council Meeting
Members and guests are welcome to attend the quarterly meeting of the MACD State Council, the governing board of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts.