Welcome to the Pioneer Valley Conservation Districts

Farming with Nature: Improving Soil Health on Vegetable Farms

Wednesday, November 5th from 9:00am to 2:45pm
At Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 North Pleasant St., North Amherst, MA

This day-long seminar features presentations, discussion panels, and field demonstrations highlighting a variety of practices to improve soil health in vegetable growing operations. Gain an understanding of the importance of soil health in sustaining production and how to reap both the economic and environmental benefits. Pesticide certification credits may apply.

“Out of the long list of nature's gifts to man, none is perhaps so utterly essential to human life as soil.” 
-Hugh Hammond Bennett (1881-1960)

There is no cost to attend. Refreshments and lunch will be provided by the conservation districts and funds from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

Please register by November 1st. Space is limited. Aimee V. Annichiarico

aimee.annichiarico@ma.usda.gov | P: 413-585-1000 ext 113

Conservation Districts

The Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Conservation Districts (CDs) serve landowners and communities in the Pioneer Valley in the conservation and management of natural resources; farmland, woodland, and wildlife management; and farmland preservation. Conservation Districts are state entities designated by the Massachusetts General Laws to address natural resources issues at the local level throughout the Commonwealth. There are fourteen (14) districts in Massachusetts, led by volunteer elected supervisors.

The Districts cooperate with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a federal agency addressing the conservation and wise management of natural resources (soil, water, air, plants, animals, human, and energy). Examples of assistance from NRCS include: 

  • creating or enhancing wildlife habitat for at-risk species
  • improving irrigation efficiencies
  • controlling invasive/exotic plant species
  • reducing soil erosion, managing manure and nutrient runoff into streams and rivers
  • implementing forest management practices to increase health and productivity
  • improving energy efficiencies in greenhouses
  • promoting renewable energy on farms by funding Farm Energy Audits and the implementation of certain energy-saving practices.
  • encouraging the adoption of agronomic practices (e.g. Nutrient management planning, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) planning, cover cropping and reduced tillage, etc.)
Each District is governed by a volunteer board of supervisors. Historically farmers and environmentally conscious landowners, today boards reflect a wide range of people and professions. We assist agricultural producers and landowners with conservation planning and applying for financial assistance to correct resource concerns. The District programs improve the health and productivity of all landscapes, urban to rural.

We also carry out programs and workshops, sponsor the Massachusetts Envirothon competition for high school students, hold conservation tours of local farms, and organize an annual plant sale to raise money for these initiatives. Attend a monthly Conservation District meeting, or join your local District as a supervisor.


2012 working group survey