Please note this opportunity for you to influence 
priorities for local conservation funding.  We 
hope that many on these lists can participate as outlined below.

Susan Smalley

USDA Seeks Local Input on Conservation Priorities

EAST LANSING, Dec. 1, 2009  The U.S. Department 
of Agriculture is seeking local input from 
residents, landowners and organizations that will 
help determine how USDA conservation program 
funds are utilized in Michigan. Volunteers are 
sought to serve on local workgroups that will 
help identify and prioritize natural resources 
concerns. Input from the locally-led workgroups 
will be used in the development of ranking 
questions for USDA Natural Resources Conservation 
Service financial assistance programs. These 
programs include the Environmental Quality 
Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Wildlife 
Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).  The ranking 
questions determine which applications submitted 
by agricultural producers and landowners will be selected for funding.

In fiscal year 2010, twenty five percent of the 
ranking scores for EQIP and WHIP applications 
will consist of ranking questions developed from 
resource issues identified by locally led 
workgroups. An essential element of locally-led 
conservation is input from a broad range of 
agencies, organizations, businesses, and 
individuals in the local area that have an 
interest in natural resource management and are 
familiar with local resource needs and 
conditions. These representatives should reflect 
the diversity of the residents, landowners, and 
land operators in the local area.

Locally-led workgroups are being asked to develop 
lists of up to ten resource priorities for land 
uses such as crop land, forest land, pasture 
land, organic agriculture and wildlife habitat. 
The local resource priorities can be resource 
concerns such as high levels of nutrients in 
surface water, resource issues such as promoting 
hardwood generation, or priority practices such 
as encouraging no-till.  More information will be 
provided at the local workgroup meetings. The 
most common resource issues will be turned into 
ranking questions for EQIP and WHIP applications. 
Additionally, the priority resource issues 
identified may be used to develop ranking 
questions for other programs and initiatives 
requiring local input throughout the year.

The first meetings will be held in December and 
the local workgroups can expect another meeting 
to update the resource issue list within the next 
year. The best way to find meeting times and 
locations or indicate your interest for future 
meetings is to contact your local NRCS field 
office.  The field office directory can be found 

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