National Resource Conservation Service

(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor as Kyle and Leonard discuss the “local led process” of the NRCS.
(Kyle) Hi this Kyle Bauer from Kansas City, have the opportunity to visit with Leonard Jordan and because it appears that titles are a very important part and protocol in USDA, I’m going to let you say your title. (Leonard) Thanks Kyle, it’s Associate Chief for Conservation with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, NRCS. (Kyle) And of course, most every county has an NRCS Office, but NRCS is national in scope, but also very, very local. (Leonard) Indeed it is. We are national in scope as you indicated, but we rely on local input of the local producers, the district board, conservation district board in every local community to actually identify what those concerns are and then we can use our programs to address those local, identified concerns. So, we refer to ourselves as local led process. (Kyle) Well and truly there is a variation then as you go from county to county, state to state, different regions on what those locally led programs amount to. (Leonard) Indeed it is, it goes back to the Father of our agency, Hugh Hammond Bennett and he always believed that no one knew more and better about what those resource concerns were, than the people that lived on the land, the people within those communities. And that is the philosophy by which we operate. So, we have a group that’s called the Local Advisory Boards, the local work groups, and they come together annually and they identify what those concerns are. By that, they work with the producers within their locations and they identify whether there’s soil erosion, whether it’s water quality, whether it’s animal waste management concerns. And then we frame that local program based on the input from the local work group. (Kyle) And even though NRCS works with agriculture, it does have the resource management in mind for all people in the nation. (Leonard) For all people. We look at it as our interest is to make sure we provide a system to protect all of the resources, all of the natural resources. And there’s no boundaries to that. Our primary focus of course, has been in rural America, but we recognize that urban America encroachment areas of rural America, they have resource concerns and we have programs, we hope, that are applicable to that and we try to address those resource concerns because to address those resource concerns is of benefit and value to all of society, regardless of where you live. (Kyle) You know, you’ve mentioned a number of times, protect the resource, but the resource is still being used, it’s not about setting a resource aside to be unused. It’s about using a resource in a manner that protects it. (Leonard) Exactly. So, the phrase I am going to use here is working lands. So, we believe it is critically important to provide assistance to private producers on working lands because we want to keep working lands working. In order for this society to continue to provide the food and fiber that will be needed for this growing population, we need individuals on working lands. So we want to provide incentives that enable them to continue to work their land, produce the food and fiber that is necessary, but do it in a conservation minded approach. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Leonard Jordan, he’s with NRCS. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.

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