The head of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service was in Indiana Monday. NRCS Chief Matt Lohr was in Indianapolis at the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting. He spoke to a crowded ballroom of county and state SWCD representatives thanking them for their partnership.
“We’re a big federal agency; 9,000 employees in 2,500 offices across the country, but we can’t do it alone. It takes the partnership with our conservation districts and certainly our producers and other groups all working together. So, the theme of my presentation today was really preaching that collaboration and partnership. There’s a lot of opportunities. We’ve accomplished a lot, but there’s a lot more that we can do if we if we stay focused on the why behind we do conservation for that next generation and how we can all come together as partners to collaborate and bring resources together.”
Lohr mentioned the size of his agency and said there is demand for more employees as words like “sustainability” become more prevalent in agriculture today. He says Congress is taking notice.
“Congress, for the last several farm bills, has appropriated a lot of resources to conservation. We’re at over $4.3 billion a year with the 2018 farm bill. In order to do that workload, you have to have folks in the field offices providing that technical assistance, being able to work with farmers to help with conservation plans, and help determine if there’s a need for a farm bill program.”
He says the potential is there to have a total of 11,000 employees nationwide, about 2,000 more than today.
Hear my full interview with Lohr by clicking the play button below.