Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed July 17 Conservation District Day across the state of Michigan to honor the hard work and dedication of Conservation Districts providing vital information to the people of Michigan preserving the state’s natural resources for generations to come.
âToday, I am happy to join Governor Whitmer in recognizing our conservation districts, which are a fundamental part of the implementation of some of MDARD’s key programs, including the Forestry Assistance Program and the Michigan’s agricultural environmental insurance program, which helps protect forest health and preserve water quality, âsaid Gary McDowell, director of MDARD. âI encourage you to take a moment to thank the conservation districts in our region and their staff for the tireless work they do every day to ensure the protection of our natural resources and agricultural lands. “
Conservation District Day commemorates the 84th anniversary of Public Law 297 of 1937, Michigan’s first Soil Conservation District law, enacted as a local response to the Dust Bowl soil erosion disaster of the 1930s , associated with extreme drought nationwide.
Since 1937, the reach and responsibility of Michigan Conservation Districts has extended far beyond their original focus of agricultural soil erosion to include a range of conservation practices that aim to maintain productive and healthy soils, the management of invasive species, optimizing forest habitat, safeguarding water quality and quantity, providing conservation education, recycling support, protection of farmland, and more.
“The joint mission of the Michigan Conservation Districts is to protect and enhance the soil, water and habitat resources on working lands in the state’s 83 counties,” said Gerald Miller, President of Michigan Association of Conservation Districts and Chairman of the Kent Conservation District Board of Directors. âConservation Districts have worked hand in hand with Michigan farmers and growers for 84 years to accomplish this mission. “
Last year alone, the Michigan Conservation District’s partnerships with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and MDARD provided more than $ 38 million in Farm Bill funding directly to Michigan landowners, to meet specifically to the problems of natural resources on their working lands.
âMichigan’s conservation districts are working with farmers and landowners to implement a variety of conservation practices to increase water infiltration and promote healthy and productive soils,â said Dan Moilanen, executive director of MACD . âOver 72% of all Michigan land is owned by individuals, and Conservation Districts are an important and effective delivery model for implementing conservation practices on private and public lands, to protect and d ‘improve Michigan’s natural resource wealth today and into the future. . “
To celebrate the day, MDARD and MACD will share soil and water conservation tips on a âFresh from the Fieldâ podcast featuring Gerald Miller, MACD President and Kent Conservation District Board Chair. Listen to the podcast.
To learn more about Michigan Conservation Districts and their programs and services, visit www.macd.org. To learn more about the Forestry Assistance Program, visit Michigan.gov/MIFAP or to learn more about the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, visit www.MAEAP.org.