Kristy Oates, USDA-NRCS State Resource Conservationist spoke on behalf of the federal agency, its programs, funding and partnership with SWCDs.

​Presentation given by TSSWCB Vice President Barry Mahler at the 2018 Annual Meeting General Session:

Kylar Pepper, state winner of the 2018 FFA Soil and Water Stewardship Public Speaking Contest, delivered his winning essay.  (Scroll below to read info about Kylar.)

Oates also made presentations to the Earth Team Volunteer of the Year and the Group Earth Team of the Year. (Scroll below to see pictures and read info about the 2018 Earth Team Awards.)

    "This is the first year NRCS has awarded a Group of the Year. This group has had 250 volunteers who have donated 1,777 hours over the last 10 years and their trusty leader said it would not have been possible to get half the work done without all these folks!
    The Kimble County NRCS team including district conservationist, Dandy Kothmann and rangeland management specialists, Landon Pyle and Alfredo Muñoz, keep the Friends of Conservation forms in their vehicles and have documented these volunteer hours over the last 10 years! They utilized Earth Team volunteers for education and outreach, natural resource inventory, conservation planning and implementation and more!
    Would Dandy Kothmann please come forward to accept this award for the Kimble County NRCS office?"

ATSWCD Executive Director Tamara Daniel  narrated details of auction items and TCAWS consultant Todd Kercheval  served as auctioneer.

ATSWCD office manager Donna Bednarz (right),  tallies the proceeds, assisted by Kenda Mahaffey. of Bedias Creek & Freestone SWCDs.

Diamond-Hill Jarvis High School JROTC presented colors during the Pledge of Allegiance.  Kenda Mahaffey (right), of Bedias Creek and Freestone SWCDs, sang the National Anthem.   

Excerpts from the award presentation to Bob Stobaugh - Audio Visual Tech Award:

    Since 2015, Bob Stobaugh, NRCS Audio Visual Production Specialist, has helped us in honoring our statewide conservation award winners.  Not only has he helped us with the annual conservation award videos, he has also put together our agency video, videos for producer profiles, and videos for assistance available to producers after disasters.  We also want to thank State Conservationist Salvador Salinas for graciously allowing Bob to lend us his talents and expertise.
    Bob and his wife have recently made the decision to retire March 1 of next year.  We will sorely miss his expertise in putting together our wonderful conservation award videos.  Bob, we will miss you, but we wish you well in whatever new adventures await you.  I’m sure Sal and his team will miss Bob as well.

Anne Idsal, Region 6 EPA Administrator was the keynote speaker.  She noted positive changes in the department, addressed current events of particular interest to conference participants and answered questions from the audience. 

Hough surprised Jule Richmond (left), of Blanket, TX with the prestigious 2018 President's Award, the highest honor bestowed by ATSWCD.       

Read more about Richmond and see pictures with his family on the 2018 Award Winners page. 

Brandenberger (center) is pictured with family members and TSSWCB Executive Director Rex Isom (far right).

Jennifer Dwyer (second from left) was recognized as the 2018 USDA-NRCS Texas Earth Team Volunteer of the Year.

    Fort Worth welcomed more than 600 conservation leaders from across Texas to the Omni Hotel for the 78th Annual Meeting of Texas Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Directors October 29-31, 2018.  Monday was a day of working meetings for the Association of Texas SWCDs (ATSWCD), Texas Conservation Association for Water and Soil (TCAWS), Public Information and Education Committee, Soil and Water Stewardship Committee, Texas Association of Watershed Sponsors, Resolutions Committee, Association of Texas District Employees and The Committee of 100.  Areas I, II, III, IV and V also held individual discussion sessions. 

    There was time to visit ATSWCD's Live Auction display, bid on the Association of Texas District Employees' Silent Auction items and check out vendors' and sponsors' booths in the exhibition area.  The day concluded with a social hour, buffet banquet and Live Auction event.  Scroll down to see pictures and more info below.  

    The keynote speaker for Tuesday's General Session was Anne Idsal, Region 6 EPA Administrator.  Jule Richmond of Blanket, TX was recognized with the prestigious Association of Texas SWCD's President's Award.  President Volney Hough made the presentation, which is the highest award bestowed by the Association and awarded for truly outstanding service, promoting and impacting conservation issues for Texas. See pictures and read more about Richmond and other 2018 State Award winners.

    An FFA Soil and Water Stewardship Public Speaking Award presentation, information about the Texas Conservation Association for Water and Soil by president Bob Brockman and an address by Kristy Oates, USDA-NRCS State Resource Conservationist, rounded out the morning's session.

    Statewide contest winners were recognized at an awards luncheon in the Texas Ballroom.  Numerous breakout sessions were available throughout the afternoon on a wide variety of topics regarding agricultural issues, legislative policy initiatives, restoration and preservation of natural resources and other topics of concern.  Attendees also continued to visit exhibitors' booths, learning more information from a range of private companies, agencies and organizations.  ATSWCD and TCAWS conducted meetings and officers were elected.  ATSWCD voted on resolutions, reviewed new funding programs and discussed other business of the association.  A Walking Tour of Fort Worth Stockyards was offered for attendees on Wednesday morning. 


​Rex Isom, Executive Director of TSSWCB, addressed conference attendees.  

A luncheon in the Texas Ballroom included an Awards Ceremony.  Statewide contest winners were recognized with individual slideshow presentations and were awarded commemorative plaques. 

See pictures and read about the winners on the 2018 State Award Winners page ​

Dandy Kothmann, NRCS DC (right), accepts the Texas 2018 Earth Team Group of the Year award on behalf of the Kimble County/Junction, TX FO, from Kristy Oates (left), USDA-NRCS State Resource Conservationist. 

Thank you to those who donated our quality Live Auction items,

some of which were original, one-of-a-kind designs made especially ​for this event. 

Many items were crafted by skilled artisans using natural materials  from around the state.

    "The Earth Team Volunteer Program and its volunteers provide valuable assistance to NRCS and the Soil and Water Conservation District throughout the year. I want to thank each and everyone of you who have recruited volunteers, utilize the volunteers’ assistance and supported the program.
    The majority of our volunteer hours are in conservation education, conservation planning and technical consultation, and conservation implementation. In FY18, we had 2,426 individuals and Friends of Conservation who donated almost 13,000 hours, valued at more than $320,000!    *$24.69/hrx12,990 hours
     NRCS is proud to honor our Earth Team Volunteer of the Year for 2018, Jennifer Dwyer of the Cooper NRCS and Delta SWCD.   Jennifer has donated more than 1,100 hours since she started volunteering with NRCS in 2014. Kristi Oats of the Cooper Focus Group says Jennifer is ready to help with whatever comes her way!  Jennifer can be found assisting NRCS and Delta Soil and Water Conservation District throughout the year at the fair, wildlife clinic or educating our future generation about conservation, soil health, and more! 

    Jennifer and the Cooper team’s conservation education efforts are frequently featured in the Cooper Review newspaper!  We would like to recognize Jennifer Dwyer as our Earth Team Volunteer of the Year for 2018! 
    Would Kristi and Jennifer please come forward along with the Delta SWCD members who are in attendance?" 




​See pictures and read more information about events and highlights of the 78th Annual Meeting below

​The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) convened the General Session of the 78th Annual Meeting of SWCD Directors.  Chairman Jose' Dodier, Jr. of Zapata presided.  

TSSWCB Board members (left to right):  Tina Y. Buford, Harlingen; David Basinger, Deport; Marty H. Graham, Rocksprings; Scott Buckles, Stratford; Barry Mahler, Vice Chairman, Iowa Park; Jose' Dodier, Jr., Chairman, Zapata.  Director Carl Ray Polk, Jr., Lufkin, was unable to attend.    

Joe C. Bean of Dalworth SWCD welcomed Annual Meeting participants to Fort Worth.

Pictures and Highlights of the 78th Annual Meeting of Texas SWCD Directors

October 29 - 31, 2018          Forth Worth, TX      

Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD) President Volney Hough of Mountain Home, gave an update on the Association's work in representing SWCDs on state and national levels. 


Tuesday's General Session

Bob Brockman, of Sonora and Chairman of the Texas Conservation Association for Water and Soil (TCAWS), gave an overview of the organization's current work and plans for the future.

    ​He joined the state board in 1968 and has been around for the creation or re-establishment of 63 soil and water conservation districts. All four Temple office locations, 10 out of 11 executive directors, the funding of three new programs, and holds the record for longest employee TSSWCB has ever had. 

    He is a husband of 53 years to his wife Alice, father to Mark and Mary Ann and “Big” to his grandkids Dacey, Mason and Makail. His family sings his praise and says he has instilled in them the importance of giving and loving others. He is their #1 fan and never misses a football, volleyball, baseball game, dance recital or stock show. He really is one in a million.
    Don, we can never put into words the impact that you have had on this agency and conservationists across the state. We appreciate your dedication and love for the land. Don Brandenberger, will you please come forward to accept this token of appreciation for 50 years of service?"

​  "​At this time, we would like to recognize one of TSSWCB’s most valuable assets. He is well known across the state for his hard work, dedication, giving heart and his love for making others laugh. He has been a Tarleton Texan and a Texas Tech Red Raider studying Animal Husbandry. He has served our country in the Army and landowners across the state as a county extension agent. He can frequently be found at FFA/4-H contests, stock shows and other events supporting, teaching and caring for kids across the state. He has cooked about a million hamburgers and hot dogs for countless events. He is truly an exemplary human being and someone who selflessly serves without ceasing.

Conserving and Protecting the Soil and Water Resources of Texas

Excerpts from the award presentation to Kylar Pepper - 2018 Texas FFA Soil Stewardship Public Speaking Contest winner:

    As a freshman, Kylar Pepper was named the 2018 Texas FFA Soil Stewardship Public Speaking Contest state champion.  The 15-year-old son of Kevin and Michelle Pepper, along with his older sister, younger brother, and parents, lives and works on a cotton farm in the West Texas community of Patricia.  He is a sophomore at Klondike High School and participates in football, basketball, track, National Junior Honor Society, and student council. Kylar is heavily involved in the FFA and serves as chapter treasurer.  He was president of the 2017 Texas FFA state runner-up Greenhand Chapter Conducting Team and competed on the Homesite Evaluation Team, placing ninth at the state level.  He has enjoyed showing pigs for the past seven years.  
    When he’s not participating in school-related activities, Kylar spends time with his youth group where he helps with Vacation Bible School and various other service-related projects.  After graduation, Kylar plans to attend Texas Tech University and major in landscape architecture.

Kristy Oates, USDA-NRCS State Resource Conservationist, presented the Texas 2018 Earth Team Awards with the following remarks:

SWCDs Celebrating 75 Year Anniversaries

Upper Pecos SWCD #213                          June 22, 1943             

Matagorda County SWCD #316                July 8, 1943

Coastal Plains SWCD #317                       September 13, 1943 

Waters Davis SWCD #318                        September 27, 1943

Coastal SWCD #432                                 April 19, 1943

Marion-Cass SWCD #433                        May 10, 1943

Trinity Bay SWCD #434                          April 19, 1943 

Congratulations to the Successful Bidders . . .

The Association of

Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts

​Monday evening, attendees gathered in the Texas Ballroom for a social hour 

and  enjoyed a Texas-sized Cow Town barbecue buffet followed by the ATSWCD Live Auction