79th Annual Meeting of SWCD Directors

San Antonio welcomed nearly 700 conservation leaders from across Texas to the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort for the 79th Annual Meeting of Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Directors October 28-30, 2019. 


Committee Meetings and Area Discussion Sessions

Working meetings were held for the Association of Texas SWCDs (ATSWCD), Texas Conservation Association for Water and Soil (TCAWS), Resolutions Committee, Legislative Committee, Texas Association of Watershed Sponsors, Public Information and Education Committee, Association of Texas District Employees and Soil and Water Stewardship Committee.  Areas held individual discussion sessions and Areas 1, 3 and 5 held elections and reelected board members from each area to serve one more term. 

There was time to check out vendors' and sponsors' booths in the Exhibition Hall, visit ATSWCD's raffle and auction items display, place bids for the Association of Texas District Employees' silent auction items and purchase raffle tickets for the Auxiliary's quilt.  


ATSWCD Raffles and Live Auction

A social and banquet preceded a fun-filled evening of several ATSWCD raffles and a live auction.  ATSWCD Directors quickly sold out of two decks of cards in the first raffle, followed by a second raffle of items donated by District members.  A third drawn-down raffle had a cash jackpot winner.  The evening wrapped up with a live auction of premier items including a large iron firepit specifically designed for the San Antonio meeting, chainsaw sculpture, framed painting by a famous Texas-based Western artist and more.  A professional auctioneer kept the activities quick and lively and more than $5,000 was raised for the Association.  

Blaine Dahl of Channing, TX  and Hartley SWCD #152, assists ATSWCD Executive Director Tamara Daniel with the popular drawn-down raffle.

Draw-down raffle winner Sherry Hurt, Sandhills SWCD #241

Live Auction winner Pete Ballew (left), Andrews SWCD #246

Live Auction winner Michael Korus, Atascosa County SWCD #307

Live Auction winner Roy Thompson, Lamb County SWCD #130

Live Auction winner Susan McMahan, Bedias Creek SWCD #428



General Session

The General Session opened with the Presentation of Colors and the national anthem, sung by Kenda Mahaffey of Bedias Creek, Freestone County and Anderson-Houston SWCDs.  TSSWCB President Barry Mahler presided.  Attendees were welcomed by Steve J. Raabe, of the San Antonio River Authority and TSSWCB Executive Director Rex Isom provided an update on the agency.  Bob Phillips, popular broadcasting personality with Texas Country Reporter provided the humorous and inspiring keynote address.  Matthew Lohr, USDA-NRCS Chief, spoke to the conference regarding the federal agency's direction in agriculture.  Hannah Norwood, of Warren FFA, gave her state award-winning FFA Soil and Water Stewardship speech.  Bob Brockman, president of the Texas Conservation Association for Water and Soil (TCAWS) provided an overview of that organization.  Six Districts celebrating 75th anniversaries were recognized.  The President's Award, honoring outstanding achievements by a Texas Conservationist, was presented to Gene Edmiston, of Voca.  Volney Hough, president of ATSWCD, made the presentation, which is the highest award bestowed by ATSWCD.  Rickey James, immediate past president of ATSWCD, presented Hough with a gift in appreciation of Hough's years of service as president of the Association.   

Kenda Mahaffey

Barry Mahler

Matthew Lohr

Steve J. Raabe

Rex Isom

Hannah Norwood

Bob Phillips

Rickey James

Rickey James, immediate past president of ATSWCD, presented Volney Hough with a gift in appreciation of Hough's years of service as president of the Association.  Left to right:  James, Hough and ATSWCD Executive Director, Tamara Daniel.

The President's Award, honoring outstanding achievements by a Texas Conservationist, was presented to Gene Edmiston (right), of Voca.  Volney Hough (left), president of ATSWCD, made the presentation, which is the highest award bestowed by ATSWCD.  

Read more about President's Award winner Gene Edmiston

and all other State Award Winners. 

Bob Brockman

SWCDs Celebrating 75th Anniversaries

Menard County SWCD #215        March 15, 1944

Kendall SWCD #216                    March 15, 1944

Kerr County SWCD #217             May 8, 1944

Hill Country SWCD #534              June 17, 1944

Southmost SWCD #319                July 7, 1944

Pedernales SWCD #218               August 8, 1944 


ATSWCD Business Session and Annual Report

The ATSWCD business meeting of voting delegates and other Directors was held to elect officers, review and vote on resolutions and conduct other business as necessary.  President Volney Hough called the meeting to order and introduced other Board members.  Special guest speaker was Jimmy Emmons of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.  Under the direction of ag teacher Brian Clay, the FFA Jr team from Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Helotes demonstrated proper parliamentary procedure in a mock business meeting skit.  Hough gave an overview of changes during his years of service, encouraged Directors to participate in new grant programs offered and noted Soil Health workshops held across the state and the importance of having Texas' voice heard at national meetings. 

Area 3 Director Rick Schilling was

  elected the new President of the


Hough moves into the position of Immediate Past President.  Area 2 alternate Bob Steakley will fill the remainder of Hough's Board term.   Rick Schilling, Area 3 was elected President and Kent Batman, Area 4, was elected Vice President.  ATSWCD Executive Director Tamara Daniel reported on growth of the organization, new partnerships and successful Soil Health Workshops.  She noted the benefits of networking opportunities during the Spring Fly-in trip to D.C. and participating in other state and national meetings.  Daniel remarked on the FFA Public Speaking Contest sponsored by ATSWCD and judged by several Directors and her at the FFA State Convention.  She presented a gift of appreciation to Gary Schott of Alamo SWCD for his help with this Annual Meeting in San Antonio.  

Steakley reviewed the resolutions and conducted the voting on each.

After a closing thank you statement from Hough, the meeting was adjourned.    


                       The Annual Report was also provided during the business session.


Guest speaker Jimmy Emmons, U.S. Dept of Agriculture

The FFA Jr Chapter Conducting Team from O'Connor High School in Helotes

Volney Hough

Tamara Daniel

Gary Schott (left), Alamo SWCD and Tamara Daniel, ATSWCD Executive Director

Bob Steakley


Breakout sessions

Texas Land Trends Panel Discussion

Ag/Law Estate Planning

Successful SWCD Panel Discussion

The Conservation Conversation

Hemp in Texas

Building Policy Initiatives for

Texas Water and Soil Conservation

Building Capacity Through Partnerships for Increased Grassroots Conservation Opportunities/Opportunities Available Through the 2018 Farm Bill, Including

Watershed Operations and Rehab

J Pete Laney

and Todd Kercheval,

TCAWS Consultants


Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts

1497 Country View Lane     Temple, TX 76504-8806     254-778-8741