NHACD Annual Meeting & Working Lands Conference

By Cheshire County Conservation District (other events)

3 Dates Through Nov 03, 2017

NHACD & CCCD - Who are we?

Conservation Districts play an important role in the delivery of conservation practices that conserve soil, maintain water quality, and protect natural resources. Districts match local resource needs with technical and financial resources to help landowners implement on-the-ground conservation projects.

For over 70 years the NH Association of Conservation Districts (NHACD) has served as a leader in conservation efforts - committed to providing statewide coordination, representation, and leadership for NH Conservation Districts to conserve, protect, and promote responsible use of NH’s natural resources. The Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD) was the first of NH’s ten Districts to be established in 1945. Together, our work serves NH’s producers, consumers, farmers, landowners, students, conservationists, and business and community leaders through a wide range of technical, financial, and educational assistance.


Annual Meeting & Working Lands Conference Schedule

Thursday, November 2nd / 10:30am-4:30pm - Thursday morning hosts our NHACD Annual Business Meeting. An opportunity to hear highlights from each of NH's ten Conservation Districts as well as statewide & national conservation partner updates. Lunch provided.

Thursday, November 2nd / 5:00pm-9:00pm - Thursday evening hosts the CCCD's Annual Meeting Banquet. Join us for a lively cocktail hour of locally sourced wine and beer, followed by community awards, Cheshire County highlights from the year, and a keynote address by author David Montgomery. All nestled within a locally sourced and delicious three-course banquet dinner provided by the Monadnock Food Coop.

Friday, November 3rd / 8:00am-4:00pm - Friday hosts the Working Lands Conference portion of our event. A full day of informative workshops for you to choose from and the option to hop on a bus and join us for a Cheshire County Cover Crop Tour! We will also host a Veterans Networking Session for veterans interested in discussing farming practices, challenges and available resources with other likeminded veterans. Breakfast and lunch provided. See below for workshop, cover crop tour, and veteran networking details.


Conference Workshops

Eight Concurrent Sessions and Optional Cover Crop Tour

***Category I & II CFE credits available at each workshop

***Pesticide Recertification Credits available on select workshops


9AM: Building Soil Health (1.0/II CFE) - This session will delve into the theoretical concepts of the soil health movement and add practical perspective for farmers looking to add resiliency, profitability, and sustainability to their farm operation.  We will discuss why it pays, in dollars and cents, to think about your soil as a living ecosystem to be nurtured rather than a something to be controlled.  The discussion will focus on how you can be a soil health manager through reduced tillage and no-till, the diverse use of cover crops, improved nutrient management, and other agronomic practices.  We’ll hear from a number of farmers from various backgrounds on how they’ve adopted these principals and seen the results first hand. (Presented by: Chad Cochrane-USDA NRCS, Adam Crete-Highway View Farm, & Pooh Sprauge-Edgewater Farm) 

9AM: Irrigation Water Conservation & Soil Moisture (1.0/I CFE)This session will discuss various ways to conserve irrigation water during the growing season. We will review irrigation types and techniques as well as conservation tips for proper irrigation timing and coverage.  Further technical analysis will also be discussed using soil moisture sensors and how to implement that data into an irrigation system. FSMA regulations will also be briefly discussed as it pertains to irrigated crops. (Presented by: Trevor Hardy-Brookdale Fruit Farm)

10:30AM: Increasing Farmland Access and Building Stronger Farms Through Conservation (1.0/II CFE) - Now, more than ever, farmers and conservation groups are working together to protect farmland and get more land back into farming. In this workshop, you will learn the basics of farmland protection, including what it means to sell your development rights. Farmer Stuart Adams, who recently conserved his family farm, will share his experiences. You’ll also hear about how farmers and nonprofits are working together to keep land in production and affordable for farmers. You will leave the workshop armed with action steps of how you can work with local nonprofits to protect your farm, access additional land, or find affordable land to buy.  There will be plenty of time for Q&A, so come with your questions and ideas! (Presented by: Stacy Gambrel-Monadnock Conservancy, Cara Cargil-Land for Good, & Stuart Adams-Windyhurst Farm)

10:30AM: Grassland & Shrubland Bird Ecology & Habitat Management (1.0/I CFE) - New England is home to about 45 bird species that require either grass- or shrub-dominated habitats as their primary nesting and breeding habitat. Many of these species, including bobolinks, meadowlarks, grasshopper sparrows, prairie warblers, field sparrows, and brown thrashers, are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the region because they have experienced long-term populations declines due to habitat loss. In this presentation we will: introduce the bird species that require grassland and shrubland habitats and discuss their specific habitat needs, provide an overview of the most common areas where these habitat occur in the region, and provide practical suggestions for how landowners can maintain or even create these habitats on their land to benefit birds and many other wildlife. There will be ample time for Q&A. (Presented by: Rosalind Renfrew-VT Center for Ecostudies and Matt Tarr-UNH Cooperative Extension)

1PM: Working Lands Policy Session (1.0/I CFE) - Federal, state and municipal policy can all have big impacts on farms and farmland--including ag land preservation and stewardship practices. How can Conservation Districts support the sustainability of New Hampshire's working agricultural lands? Plan to discuss NACD’s work on conservation policy, priorities for the next Farm Bill, how districts can get involved, as well as the major challenges facing stewardship of privately owned forest lands, particularly as these relate to state and municipal policies in the Granite State. (Presented by: Eric Hanson-NACD, Will Abbott-SPNHF, and Lorraine Merrill-NHDAMF)

1PM: Adapting Your Farms & Forests to Build Resilience to Climate Change (1.0/I CFE) - Presenters will share how climate is impacting agriculture and forestry in our region. Participants will learn about the specific challenges and ways to adapt in order to sustain productivity. Through interactive dialogue everyone in the room will share experiences and stories. Tools, resources and decision-support are central to this discussion on adapting our farms and forest lands. Everyone interested in dealing with our warmer, wetter, and wackier weather should join us. (Presented by: Erin Lane-USDA Northeast Climate Hub, George Hamilton-UNH Extension Field Specialist, Adrien Lavoie-Lavoie's Farm, Hollis, NH, & Lisa Graichen-UNH Climate Adaptation Program Coordinator)

2:30PM: Pollinator Habitat on Farmland: What do the Growers Think? (1.0/II CFE) (1.0 Pesticide Credit) - How does pollinator conservation work for the growers who practice it? Are you eligible for the government cost-share programs that incentivize pollinator conservation on farmland? Participants will learn about pollinators, the role of pollinators in agriculture, and how New Hampshire growers are using their farms to support populations of pollinators and other beneficial insects for conservation, improved crop pollination, and pest control. Eric Venturini will lead a panel composed of growers who practice pollinator conservation. Attendees will learn from the experiences of panelists and the session is formatted to encourage the exchange of experience-based information between attendees. (Presented by: Eric Venturini-Xerces Society)

2:30PM: Managing a Woodlot – Considering Landowner Interests, Ecology & Economics (1.0/I CFE) - Managing a woodlot requires a lot planning and attention to economics, landowner wishes and the ecology of the forest in order to successfully meet landowner goals.  We will discuss the process of managing a woodlot and the markets that drive management. Specifically matching landowner goals to the wood products markets all while maintaining the health of the forest and preserving or enhancing the ecological services the woodlot provides. (Presented by: Steve Roberge-UNH Cooperative Extension and Swift Corwin-Consulting Forester at Calhoun & Corwin Forestry, LLC)

1PM-4PM: Cheshire County Cover Crop Tour (Tour will span 2 workshop sessions) (3.0/II CFE) (1.5 Pesticide Credits) - Cover crops have received renewed interest from farmers in the last several years as a way to protect and maintain soils and conserve nutrients. Today, several area farms are increasing their use of cover crops with innovative seeding methods and more complex seed mixes. (Conducted by: Carl Majewski-UNH Cooperative Extension and Steve Pytlik-USDA NRCS)


Our Keynote Address

Author David Montgomery will provide our keynote address entitled, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, during our Thursday evening Banquet.

Montgomery's most recent book, Growing a Revolution, cuts through debates about conventional and organic farming, showing how a soil health revolution could bring farmland soil back to life.  Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Montgomery offers a vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all and cool the planet.

David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. When not writing or doing geology, he plays in the band Big Dirt. He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Biklé and their black lab guide-dog dropout Loki.  Connect with him at or follow him on Twitter (@dig2grow).

David will have three of his books for sale and will conduct a book signing at the end of Thursday evening. Choose from: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, or Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.

We will also have copies of these books available to borrow leading up to our event as part of our Dirt Series - a collaboration between the CCCD and Keene State College with support from New Hampshire Humanities. Click here for our Dirt Series Schedule of Events and additional information about borrowing our books!


More to look forward to...

Community Awards: Each year, the CCCD honors an individual, business, or organization with the “Cooperator of the Year” award and an outstanding educator commited to conservation education in Cheshire County with the "Educator of the Year" award. Join us as we celebrate our 2017 Cooperator of the Year - Hillside Springs Farm in Westmoreland, NH and 2017 Educator of the Year - Brett Thelen of the Harris Center for Conservation Education.

Meals: All meals at our event will be catered by the Monadnock Food Co-op and will mainly consist of locally sourced products from the NH farmers we work with year round.

Wine & Beer: We invite you to try some local wine and beer during our cocktail hour to support our local farmers! Walpole Mountain View Winery will provide a variety of local wine options and Granite Roots Brewing will provide a variety of beers. Knowledgable experts from both businesses will be on-site to discuss tasting notes, pairings, and which of our local cheeses you should sample alongside your glass!

Art Exhibit: Join us as we appreciate local Cheshire County artists Mary Iselin of Marlborough, NH, Jeanne M. Thieme of Swanzey, NH, and Alicia Drakiotes of Marlborough, NH in our conservation themed art exhibit.  Art wil be available for purchase through out the two day event. We will also have the winning photos from ATTRA's 2016 National Farm Photo Contest on display.

Veterans Scholarship: This year, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the CCCD are partnering to offer veteran scholarships, which will cover the cost of registration to the event. We will host a Veterans Networking Session during the Working Lands Conference on Friday, November 3rd which will provide an opportunity for veterans to connect with one another and discuss farming practices, unique challenges, and resources available. For more information on the scholarships and potential lodging assistance, contact Andy Pressman at or by calling (479) 587-3475. Limited supply, register early!

Farmer Scholarship: We have a limited number of scholarships available to cover the cost of admission to our Working Lands Conference on Friday, November 3rd for Cheshire County farmers. If interested, please contact Amanda Littleton at or by calling (603) 756-2988 x116. Limited supply, register early!

David Montgomery Dirt Event Series: With the support of a NH Humanities Community Project Grant and in partnership with Keene State College, we have developed a series of educational events leading up to and following our Annual Meeting, focused on the theme of soil as the foundation of a healthy food system - and society. We're calling this our Dirt Series which includes several events between now and November. View our event schedule here.


Many thanks to our Sponsors!

Our 2017 Annual Meeting and Working Lands Conference is a joint event coordinated by the NH Association of Conservation Districts and the Cheshire County Conservation District. We would like to give a special thanks to local, regional, and statewide sponsors who helped make this event possible:


Partners in Conservation

USDA National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

New Hampshire Humanities

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)

Gallup Fund


Resource Stewards

The Monadnock Food Co-op

Healthy Monadnock

Nye Hill Farm


Ecological Advocates

Resource Management, Inc (RMI)


Mission Supporters

The Monadnock Conservancy

Honey Meadow Farm

Orchard Hill Breadworks

Distant Hill Gardens

The Society of Soil Scientists of Northern New England

NH Timberland Owners Association

Antioch University's Community Garden Connections


Walpole Creamery


Need Accomodations?

We've secured a special discounted group rate at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Keene for attendees to our event. Rooms are limited so book early at $119/night! Book your group rate for the NHACD Annual Meeting & Working Lands Conference!


Seating is limited! Be sure to register early!

  • Payment due upon entrance - cash or check accepted
  • Checks should be made payable to "CCCD"
  • Please check in at registration table upon arrival

Cheshire County Conservation District

Mailing Address

11 Industrial Park Drive Walpole, NH 03608