Winter 2021

2021 All-Bay Agriculture Network Forum

Brought to you by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation invites you to join us for the 2021 watershed-wide “All-Bay Agriculture Network Forum.” The Forum brings together NGO, local, state, and federal ag conservation leaders and partners to share best practices, network together, discuss collaborative implementation strategies and opportunities for accelerating and scaling up nutrient and sediment load reductions.

With the current public health challenges, NFWF is hosting the Forum virtually in early 2021. Six topic-specific tracks, featuring roughly a half-day of programming each, will be delivered from February through early March. Each track will be offered a la carte, so participants can opt into the most relevant content for your work. Find more information and register for one or more of the Forum sessions below.

The Forum aims to offer participants a high-level, technical discussion about agriculture conservation practice and policy. Traditional audiences have included ag conservation leaders from conservation districts, research and higher education institutions, farmers, state agencies, non-profit organizations, private sector and other agencies and organizations. While typically an invite-only event, the virtual format of the 2021 Forum allows us to extend the invitation to all those interested! Please feel free to share with your colleagues.

*Relevant continuing education credits are being explored for each of the sessions. The Session Details page will be updated with Continuing Education Credits (CECs) being offered once confirmed.

Forum Sessions

Registration is free but space is limited. You must register for each session separately to attend.

More information can be found on the Session Details tab which includes session agendas and speakers.

From Managing Risk to Building Resilience: Farms, Communities, and Conservation

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 1pm-4pm

Supporting a thriving farm economy and resilient farms, farm families, and rural communities is essential to restoring and sustaining a healthy Bay watershed. This session will help the region’s agricultural conservation practitioners better understand the complex risks and stressors faced by the region’s diverse farming communities, proven approaches to assessing and measuring risk and farm resilience, and efforts underway to pair conservation, risk management, and resilience at the farm and community scale. The session will include:
• Emerging, multidisciplinary frameworks for understanding and addressing the varied aspects of farm and farm family risk management and resilience;
• Insights from lenders and extension specialists on assessing farm financial and operational risks and the indicators of healthy agricultural enterprises; and;
• Case studies and discussion on how conservation factors into farm risk management and resilience and opportunities for conservationists to partner with the farmer support network.

Best Practices in Outreach and

Behavior Change: Nudge Theory

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 1pm-4pm

Behavioral economics help frame how all of us make decisions, consciously or otherwise, towards choosing a specific behavior. As partners in Bay restoration work to reach and persuade landowners to increase adoption of more sustainable farming practices and land management approaches, social scientists can provide guidance on how to tweak our messages, approaches, and effectiveness. More specifically, increased understanding of behavioral sciences and its guidance for influencing conservation choices – producers and landowners – will be key to how the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership can improve ag conservation outcomes. This track will explore:
• Social science findings about what influences decision makers (land owners and land managers) in the agricultural sector.
• Best practices in designing associated outreach and engagement campaigns, and;
• Case studies on effective outreach and engagement initiatives including tools and approaches utilized by partners in the Bay region.

Beyond the Bay: Collaborative Approaches to Water Quality Improvements

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 1pm-4pm

Collaborative approaches to advance water quality improvements continue to emerge, grow, and mature across the Chesapeake Bay as NFWF, EPA, and others make strategic investments to support these efforts. NFWF and its partners have examined the science, theory, and practice of why collaboratives are a critical structure for Bay partners to improve delivery of conservation in ag landscapes, as documented in recent NFWF Project Spotlights. This session explores a unique, broad-scale collaborative outside of the Bay where the insidious challenges of managing nutrient pollution is underway in Vermont as a part of an interstate, international effort to restore and protect Lake Champlain. What approaches has this collaborative taken that may inform our work in the Bay? What observations do Bay practitioners have? Policy-makers? Funders? How can we deploy or improve our own approaches based on what we can learn from other regions of the country? This session will: • Explore the Vermont Agricultural Water Quality Partnership and how its structure and function supports ag conservation, the Lake Champlain TMDL, and the well-being of the rural landscapes and community more broadly.
• Identify what can be deployed or improved in the Bay with the benefit of looking outside of our region.

Supply Chain Sustainability: Insights, Trends, and Operating Models

Monday, February 22, 2021 1pm-4pm

Corporate and business interests with a stake in the agricultural supply chain, from iconic global consumer goods brands to local businesses, are increasingly adopting supply chain sustainability goals and commitments that have potential to help scale up on-farm conservation efforts consistent with Bay restoration goals. This session will help the region’s agricultural conservation practitioners better understand, engage with, and activate potential corporate supply chain sustainability partnerships in support of sustainable agriculture, clean water, and climate resilience outcomes in the Bay watershed, including:
• Insights from leading researchers and supply chain professionals on the state of supply chain sustainability in 2020 and beyond;
• Conversations with corporate sustainability managers representing some of the region’s most impactful sustainability initiatives currently driving on-farm improvements;
• A tour of the operating models and on-the-ground partnerships translating corporate sustainability commitments to the farm level.

It Starts with a Plan: Making Nutrient and Manure Management Work

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 1pm-4pm

By some estimates, state and local partners must double the current extent of basic nutrient management planning and implementation between now and 2025 in order to meet local water quality goals. Even more ambitious goals for implementing advanced approaches to nutrient management will rely on a sea change in sustained nutrient management in the region, while maintaining restoration accomplishments for local streams and the Bay. This panel will explore key aspects of building a more sustained and robust system for nutrient management planning and implementation in the region, including:
•Insights from producers and planners across the Bay region on what drives their approach to nutrient management and the challenges, opportunities, and tradeoffs inherent in nutrient management planning;
•Efforts to assess and revise state-based agronomic recommendations to incorporate new science on soil health and fertility; and
•A survey of promising efforts to increase the value of nutrient management planning for producers, deliver new technologies to assist in meeting local nutrient management needs, and identify systems-level “game changers” for regional nutrient management.

Why and What For: Stream and Riparian Restoration in Agricultural Landscapes

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 1pm-4pm

The pace of stream and riparian restoration in the region’s agricultural landscapes continues to accelerate, as state and local partners look to qualified stream restoration projects, riparian buffers, livestock exclusion, and associated practices to deliver significant contributions towards regional nutrient and sediment reduction goals. This session will help the region’s agricultural conservation and ecosystem restoration practitioners reorient ongoing stream and riparian restoration efforts towards local stream health, aquatic habitat improvements, and watershed-scale approaches to achieve local restoration goals. The session will include:
• Evidence-based insights on long-term stream and riparian restoration strategies and outcomes for stream health and habitat improvement;
• Practical frameworks and technical considerations for establishing local stream restoration goals and crediting projects towards local nutrient and sediment goals; and
• Case studies of watershed-scale approaches to stream health and aquatic habitat improvement.
We hope you can join us for the 2021 All-Bay (All-Virtual) Agriculture Network Forum and look forward to when we can safely gather in person!

For questions please contact

Banner photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program. Bellevue farm tour photo by NFWF.