WASHINGTON, June 13, 2017 – The National Association of Conservation Districts submitted detailed feedback today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan to reorganize. Among NACD’s chief concerns with the reorganization is how it may affect the millions of American landowners that rely on technical assistance and conservation planning provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts.
“In its current configuration, USDA has successfully engaged producers and landowners nationwide to identify and address their local natural resource concerns,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “We do not want to see the reorganization undermine this work or reduce capacity at NRCS.”
For this reason, NACD asks USDA to accommodate NRCS’ unique need for local offices now and throughout the reorganization process.
“NRCS’ ability to create highly specialized conservation plans is only possible if NRCS offices are geographically close to producers and their operations,” NACD CEO Jeremy Peters said. “Consolidating NRCS offices undercuts the local and personal aspect of conservation planning that is critical to conservation delivery and cannot be replicated or replaced by the private sector or technological improvements.”
NACD also asks USDA to continue to solicit input from local conservation districts – which are often co-located with NRCS field offices – throughout the reorganization process as they would be directly affected by any USDA office closures or “administrative streamlining.”
Click here to read NACD’s comments on USDA’s reorganization in full.
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org