As required by Congress in the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act (RCA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture is to gather public input on natural resource conservation policy issues. The overall goal of this effort is to improve delivery of conservation services to landowners and communities, as well as to expand participation in conservation programs.
At each regional forum, discussion will focus on three broad topic areas: water security, climate variability and landscape integrity. A panel of invited speakers will present comments, followed by open discussion with forum participants.
Panelists confirmed to provide perspectives on water security at the Portland meeting are Joe Whitworth of The Freshwater Trust; Marc Thalacker of Three Sisters Irrigation District; and Dick Moss of Provost & Pritchard. Discussing climate variability will be Dan Keppen of the Family Farm Alliance, and David Ervin of Portland State University. Landscape integrity issues will be the topic for Jennifer Allen of Portland State University. Also invited to discuss landscape integrity issues are Michael Powelson of The Nature Conservancy, and Jim Stone, a Montana farmer.
There is no fee to attend the regional meetings but registration is requested. To register, go to www.farmfoundation.org and follow the link from the item on the home page.
The purpose of the RCA, which provides broad strategic assessment and planning authority for USDA, is to ensure that USDA programs for the conservation of soil, water and related resources are responsive to the long-term needs of the nation. The overall goal to improve delivery of conservation services to landowners and communities, and to expand participation in conservation programs. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) is the lead agency working on the RCA and is collaborating with nine other USDA agencies: Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, Risk Management Agency, National Institute for Food and Agriculture, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.