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Texas SWCDs Plan Conservation Goals for the Coming Year

By Quenna Terry NRCS Public Affairs Specialist

NRCS District Conservationist Ed Logan presents to more than 20 farmers during the LWG meeting.

One of the guiding principles of the 2014 USDA Farm Bill is that conservation programs are locally led. Through Local Work Group (LWG) meetings the public is given an opportunity to help local conservation leaders set program priorities.
On behalf of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), meetings in Texas are led by the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) and provide an opportunity for input and comments from farmers, ranchers, local agencies, organizations, and agri-businesses that have an interest in natural resource conditions and needs.
NRCS Assistant State Conservationist Darren Richardson in Lubbock said, “The LWG meetings this year are especially important as the NRCS faces continued implementation of the Agricultural Act of 2014, and we are uncertain of the technical and financial assistance funding in the coming year.”
Each county in state concluded their 2016 annual public meeting before the end of the fiscal year (September 30) to help develop a conservation needs assessment, identify priority resource concerns, identify high priority needs needing assistance, and gather input from local partners regarding conservation issues, and recommend USDA-NRCS conservation program application and funding criteria in their local counties.
The LWG meeting also serves as an appropriate public forum for the SWCD to review their annual plan of work.
Crosby County in the High Plains region set an excellent example of stakeholder support and participation with more than 23 producers, agri-businesses and other partners attending this year’s meeting at the stately Pioneer Memorial Museum in Crosbyton.
“These meetings are important to the rural communities,” said Ed Logan, NRCS district conservationist in Crosby County. “Our role in the field offices is to work with the SWCD board members to plan and organize the meetings. We collaborate in an effort to promote the meetings and to gain input on local priorities for conservation program funding decisions.”