NRCS Chief Applauds Flexibility in Conservation Programs
The House Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee held a hearing Thursday on the challenges and successes of USDA conservation programs in 2020.
Kevin Norton testified as the acting chief of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. He said 2018 Farm Bill program contain an element of flexibility that addresses ground-level concerns and develop ground-level solutions.
Norton… “Flexibility allows us with our state conservationists and the state technical committee, the partners there within the state to really address those conservation issues as they reside locally.”
At the subcommittee hearing, Norton shared that this flexibility within the farm bill conservation programs were critical this year. And added they will also be important regarding their success with producers and landowners going forward.
Norton… “I think it's a continuation of that locally led effort that is local even at the county level. But at the state level, give us the flexibility to deliver the programs that best address the issues and the needs there.”
Norton also added that “COVID-19 did have an impact on (NRCS) operations.” He sited staffing as a particular challenge due to difficulties in on-boarding and relocation. But he says the NRCS has had to think creatively, and persisted in these difficult circumstances.