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83rd Annual Meeting of Texas Soil and Water District Directors Recently Held in Fort Worth

TEMPLE – The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB)) recently hosted the 83rd Annual Meeting of Texas Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Directors. The meeting was held at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth on October 30 – November 1, 2023.

With over 500 people in attendance, the meeting provided SWCD Directors, employees, and conservation partners from across the state with the opportunity to address a wide variety of agricultural and conservation issues in Texas. Attendees also had access to a tradeshow which gave them the opportunity to learn about new products, programs, and technologies.

During the three-day event, a number of speakers addressed the group and discussed a variety of current, educational, and inspiring topics. Chad Pregracke, President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters was the keynote speaker during the General Session, which was held Tuesday morning. Chad encouraged attendees to be vocal and share their own stories of conservation activism with their local communities. Later that same day, State Representative Dewayne Burns spoke on Proposition 1: The Right to Farm and Ranch in Texas.

A major highlight of the Annual Meeting is celebrating the winners of the Conservation Awards Program. The 2023 Conservation Award Winners were recognized during the awards luncheon, held on Tuesday, October 31st, for their great work in preserving and protecting the natural resources of Texas. The 2023 Award Winners are as follows, Conservation Farmer: Aaron Reeves, owner and operator of Reeves Family Farm; Conservation Rancher: Tretha Caddell, owner of Yellow House Ranch; Wildlife Conservationist: Gary Gardner, owner and operator of Gardner Ranch; Conservation Teacher: Lynita Foster from Madisonville CISD; Friend of Conservation: Keep Big Spring Beautiful; Outstanding SWCD: Gillespie County SWCD #220, Junior Essay: Blaine Dahl; Senior Essay: Tabor Christanelli; Junior Poster: Isabella Cervantez; Senior Poster: Emme Davila. 

Workshops were held on Tuesday afternoon covering topics ranging from soil health, estate planning, conservation funding opportunities, and building policy initiatives. Attendees take back the knowledge learned throughout these workshops and use it to implement new ideas and practices within their own districts.

Wednesday, participants took part in a conservation tour at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. The tour allowed participants to step back in time and experience what the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex was like in the early 20th century.

Established in 1939, TSSWCB administers Texas’ soil and water conservation law and delivers coordinated natural resource conservation programs through the State’s 216 SWCDs. Additionally, TSSWCB is the lead agency for planning, implementing, and managing programs for preventing and abating agricultural and silvicultural nonpoint sources of water pollution. TSSWCB also works to ensure that the State’s network of 2,000 flood control dams are protecting lives and property by providing operation, maintenance, and structural repair grants to local government sponsors.

"Protecting and Enhancing Natural Resources since 1939."

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