The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) welcomed Jerry Raynor as the new Indiana State Conservationist last month. Raynor grew up on a farm in North Carolina and spent a majority of his 26-year career as part of the conservation partnership there. He told HAT that he’s been preparing himself for this type of leadership position throughout his career and he’s excited to land in Indiana.
Raynor says it’s known nationwide that Indiana is a leader in conservation efforts, but there is still some work left to do. One of his goals is to maintain and enhance relationship with the conservation partners throughout the state.
“One of my primary goals is to enhance and increase those partnerships, but also look at new technology, innovative technology, that will help ensure production and help farms become more sustainable. Also build those relationships with the farmers themselves because they’re the ones that are providing us a lot of direction and a lot of guidance when it comes to these innovative practices and innovative technology.”
He says he wants his department to meet farmers on their turf. This would include grower events, association meetings and events, and also farm visits. Raynor says the goal of NRCS is making farms sustainable and helping increase production because we have a nation we have to feed.
“We’re not here to stop anyone from producing. We’re not here to be in a regulatory fashion, but we are here to provide conservation assistance to them. With it being voluntary, that makes it even better. We’re here if they need assistance to run things by us and challenge us when it comes to the science in which a lot of our practices are based on.”
You can find more information on NRCS resources in Indiana by clicking here.