The subject is conservation of the state's natural resources, and it will be on the minds of some 500 conservation personnel as they gather at the Airport Hilton in Wichita for the 62nd annual convention of the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) November 19-21.
KACD is a nonprofit association formed in 1944 to assist local conservation districts with resource conservation planning. Its membership is comprised of supervisors of the state's 105 county conservation districts, which play a major role in delivering federal farm bill programs as well as state and local natural resources programs. District supervisors serve in a voluntary capacity and provide leadership to conservation district staff in administering technical and financial assistance for the programs.
"Our annual convention is an excellent opportunity for the district supervisors and affiliated organizations to get together and talk about the latest developments in conservation," says KACD President Jon Starns of Brewster.
The theme of this year's convention is "New Horizons," which reflects a current key topic of interest to meeting participants: the pending reorganization of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The reorganization, still in the planning stages, could affect the administration of local conservation offices. The NRCS restructuring will be discussed in the general session on the final day of the convention.
The convention theme also reflects the new leadership at KACD. In June, the association's board of directors named Patrick T. Lehman of Lawrence as executive director. He succeeds Richard Jones of Salina, who held the post for many years.
Lehman, who has lobbied the Kansas Legislature on behalf of numerous clients for the past decade, is a former member of the Kansas Water Authority and former board member of the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District 4 in Colby. Prior to moving to Lawrence in 1993, Lehman farmed in Thomas County for 20 years.
"I feel fortunate to be able to work with Kansas conservation districts," Lehman says. "They play an important role in addressing conservation concerns such as water quality and availability, soil erosion, air quality, and wildlife habitat improvement."
Breakout sessions will cover specific conservation topics and also will include an overview of the Kansas open meetings and open records laws. The convention also will feature the presentation of several conservation awards and recognition of district supervisors and employees who have served for at least 20 years.
For more information, contact the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts headquarters in Lawrence at (785) 832-9400.