March 4, 2011
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has recognized two U.S. conservation districts for efficient equipment use that enhances local conservation efforts. The awards are the result of a longstanding cooperative partnership between AEM and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and highlight the pivotal role of equipment in the effective management of America’s natural resources.
Winner of the “Excellence in Conservation Equipment and Technology Use” award is the Washakie County Conservation District in Worland, Wyo.
Winner of the “Defining Conservation Equipment Needs for the Future” award is Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.
Each winner receives a cash prize and recognition at the NACD annual meeting.
About the winning “Excellence in Conservation Equipment and Technology Use” award: In 2007, Washakie County Conservation District was looking for a simpler and less time-consuming way to test soil moisture. It conducted a successful pilot project with a local sugar beet processing factory to provide data that could be used to conserve energy, water, and fertilizer needs, aid in drying down the field before harvest, and alert the farmer to climate conditions that promote the growth of fungi bacteria. With funding from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, it expanded the project from two farms to five, and the district continues to extend support by providing cost share to local producers for equipment purchase.
About the winning “Defining Conservation Equipment Needs for the Future” award: The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District owns two parcels of land, many miles apart, used for educational and community outreach. These two properties are a great asset for the entire region, not just Piscataquis County. While one parcel holds the award-winning Demonstration Forest, the second parcel is newly donated, with plans to engage the community in on-the-ground conservation education once developed, with several miles of trails that provide the public with free access for sightseeing, wildlife viewing, picnicking, hiking, and a variety of other educational and recreational uses.
“We continue to be impressed by the work conservation districts are accomplishing using our members’ equipment and technology,” stated Nick Yaksich, AEM vice president of global public policy, in a written statement. “The awards also give conservation districts an opportunity to better define future needs related to equipment and technology so we can convey those ideas to our members. Together, we’re truly partnering for the future.”