The USDA National Resources Conservation Program (NRCS) took the opportunity to get the word out about the latest in the program services at the recent Ag Media Summit in St. Louis, Missouri. Jamie Johansen had the opportunity to speak with Mark Rose, Director of NRCS, about the upcoming changes for fiscal year 2017.
Rose told AgWired the Conservation Stewardship program is getting an overhaul. As the organization’s largest and most popular program the USDA is doing what they can to make it more user-friendly. Listening to commodity groups, employees, and a host of others, they can up with ways to make it better– namely, making a stronger connection between an enhancement and how it will provide benefit on the farm.
It was difficult to explain in the past, Rose related. “Now we’re going to that next step saying “Hey! we’re changing some stuff up!” We’re tying it to the practices so that when those outcomes of those enhancements [happen] they can say “Yes, this is what my benefit is.” We’re making it easier for the producers to understand, easier for our employees to understand.”
While the program does have to be run nationally, changes for 2017 also include more input at the state and local level. Obviously what happens in California may not be affecting folks in Maine, Rose acknowledges. The best way to learn about what’s happening at the local level will be through field offices. Training of employees began in July and is still continuing, but once the sign-up period is announced, the local offices will the best source of information.
Learn more about upcoming changes here: Interview with Mark Rose, NRCS