TEMPLE – The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD) recently hosted the 78th Annual Meeting of Texas Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Directors. The meeting was held at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth on October 29-31, 2018.
With over 600 people in attendance, the meeting provided SWCD Directors, employees, and conservation partners from across the state the opportunity to address a wide variety of agricultural and conservation issues in Texas as well as learning opportunities.
During the three-day event, a variety of committee meetings were held to discuss issues and highlight important areas to target during the upcoming year. Anne Idsal, EPA Region 6 Administrator, addressed the group during the general session as the keynote speaker.
Don Brandenberger, TSSWCB Field Representative from Area V was recognized for 50 years of service. Brandenberger joined TSSWCB in 1968 and holds the record for the longest serving employee in TSSWCB history. He has witnessed the creation or re-establishment of 63 soil and water conservation districts, the funding of 3 new programs, all 4 Temple Headquarter locations and has served under 10 of the 11 Executive Directors.
During the general session the spouse’s auxiliary held a business meeting and participated in a tour of the Fort Worth Japanese Garden.
The 2018 Conservation Award Winners were recognized during the Awards Luncheon for their great work in preserving and protecting the natural resources of Texas. The 2018 Award Winners are as follows, Terry SWCD #151 of Brownfield, Outstanding SWCD, Randall Bankhead of Champion, Conservation Farmer, Pitchfork Land & Cattle Company of Dickens and King Counties, Conservation Rancher, M.J. Hanna Trust of Gatesville, Friend of Conservation, Mary Kniffen of Menard, Conservation Teacher, Badwater Ranch of Somervell County, Wildlife Conservationist, Emma Willemin of Inez, Poster Contest Winner, Trey Johnston of George West, Jr. Essay Contest Winner, Lindee Miller of Silverton, Sr. Essay Contest Winner.
Workshops were held on Tuesday afternoon covering topics ranging from eminent domain, wild pigs, pasture management, climate, policy initiatives, conservation efforts and soil health. Attendees take back the knowledge and new innovative practices to implement on their operations.
On Wednesday, participants took part in a conservation tour at the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards. The legendary tour explored Texas’ rich history from the days of Indians, through the trail-drive era and to the coming of the rail road.