On the lookout for SWCD leaders

Soil and Water Conservation District board members play an important role.

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It is that time of year when many districts begin to hold their annual banquet and election. The annual banquet and election serves as a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the district and elect board members that ensure the success of the district.

Board member terms are staggered, so districts hold elections every year. In all, five supervisors represent the county residents by serving on the board for three-year terms.

As with all public officials, the rights and responsibilities of the District office are written in the applicable sections of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).

Important role

Board members play a crucial role in supporting and promoting their SWCD. We count on them for their knowledge of our county and rely on them for guidance and support of our projects.

Board members are essential to the success of a district. Board members may work with other agencies, organizations and government offices to coordinate partnership efforts with the districts. They are able to do this, as every board member brings a diverse set of skills to the board. Most board members have full-time occupations, so they are busy people!

However, as a board member, you represent those who elected you to this responsibility and it requires attention and leadership abilities. Not only do board members provide valuable guidance to the districts they serve, they also ensure the district is implementing conservation works of improvement, natural resource assistance and providing education necessary to the county they serve.

To assist SWCD board members and their staff, the SWCD Administrative Handbook (recently updated in June of 2016) has been formulated and compiled by the staff of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA), Division of Soil and Water Conservation (DSWC). The Administrative Handbook serves as valuable resource for SWCD board members.

Interested?

If you feel serving on the board is something that interests you, now is the time to start thinking about running in a SWCD election. To apply and be eligible to run for election, applicants must be 18 or older and live in the county in which the election is to be held.

Citizens can be nominated by the SWCD nominating committee or they can petition to be on the board by obtaining at least 10 valid signatures on the SWCD Candidate Nomination Petition.

All applicants will be asked to fill out a brief application form as to their previous experience with environmental practices or activities, outside organizations and/or conservation farming practices that add to their qualifications for the position of SWCD board member.
There are timeline requirements for board member applicants, so call your local SWCD, if interested.

In addition to board members, SWCDs also can have associate board members who are equally as passionate about their county’s natural resources. SWCDs are always looking for outspoken, conservation-minded, individuals who share their knowledge and expertise towards the betterment of their county. Associates’ duties include attending meetings, sharing input and attending public functions.

If interested in serving as an associate board member, contact your local SWCD office or a current board member.

It can take a board member several months to become knowledgeable as to all of the district activities, so by serving as an associate board member, an individual can better determine if he or she has the time and willingness to contribute to district programs.
We have a great board here at Mahoning SWCD and we could not do the work we do without them.

Board meetings are open to the public, so if you are interested in becoming a SWCD board member, attend a SWCD board meeting in your county and see if you can help make a difference.

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