The Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts conducted business before leaving town last week. The IASWCD is made up of all 92 soil and water conservation districts in each county in Indiana. They are a conservation partner with the Division of Soil Conservation within the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The new president for the upcoming year will be Ray McCormick, Vincennes. He replaces Paula Baldwin of Marion County, who completed her term. McCormick is a farmer, conservationist, and lifelong supporter of soil and water conservation. He was also named a Master Farmer in the Indiana Prairie Farmer and Purdue University College of Agriculture Master Farmer program in 2010. Nominations for new Master Farmers for 2011 are due postmarked by February 15, 2011.
McCormcik has long supported efforts to increase and manage wildlife, setting the example on his own farm. He uses food plots and manipulates water levels to provide for waterfowl at appropriate times of the year.
He was also instrumental in the conversion of the Goose Pond in Greene County from a large, 8,000 acre plus farm back to a wetlands, which was its original condition. The Goose Pond actually included a separate, smaller marsh area called the Beehunter's Marsh. All of this land is now in NRCS programs. Making the conversion took 10 years.
Convincing the former owner of the property took one tough negotiator, Ray McCormick, Not working for the owner but representing him in some of the negotiations, McCormick was able to steer the owner toward enrolling in the program. The area was later purchased by the State of Indiana. A dedication for the area after completion by the Natural Resources and Conservation Service was held last spring on the site.
McCormick has also been active in soil conservation affairs at the national level, and has contributed when asked in various ways. His vast knowledge of soil conservation values and wildlife issues should serve him well as leader of IASWCD. He is accustomed to working with a variety of people to reach common goals.
Good luck to Ray McCormick and IASWCD in 2011.