Local working group to discuss USDA conservation programs

Conservation district press release

The Ellis County Conservation District board of supervisors will hold a Local Working Group (LWG) meeting on March 16, 2021 at 10:00 am via Zoom. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines, we will not be able to meet in person.

The purpose of this meeting is to:

· Review current Natural Resources Conservation Service Financial Assistance Programs – Payment Rates, Eligible Practices and Resource Concerns

· Make recommendations to NRCS State Conservationist regarding changes/improvements to existing programs.

“LWGs are important because they provide recommendations on local and state natural resource priorities and criteria for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation activities and programs to the NRCS Kansas Technical Committee (KTC),” said Allen Roth, chairperson of the ECCD.

The responsibilities of the LWGs are identified in the USDA Conservation Program Delivery Manual. The LWGs recommendations will be reviewed by the KTC for submittal to USDA agencies.

· Ensure that a conservation needs assessment to identify priority resource concerns is developed using community stakeholder input and use the conservation needs assessment to help identify program funding needs and conservation practices (CPs).

· Recommend the USDA conservation program application and funding criteria, eligible CPs (including limits on practice payments or units), and payment rates.

· Assist the NRCS and CCDs with public outreach and information efforts, and identify educational and producers' training needs.

According to Allen Roth, the LWG should be diverse and focus on agricultural interests and natural resource issues existing in the community. Membership should include agricultural producers representing the variety of crops, livestock, and poultry raised within the local area; owners of nonindustrial private forest land, representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations; and governmental agencies carrying out agricultural and natural resource conservation and activities. LWGs also take into account concerns of particular historically underserved groups and individuals including but not limited to women, persons with disabilities, socially disadvantaged, and limited resource groups.

To RSVP for the March 16 meeting and receive the information for the Zoom meeting or to request more information about LWGs, contact the ECCD or NRCS staff by calling 785-628-3081 X 3, or stop by the USDA Service Center, 2715 Canterbury Drive, Hays, Kansas.