Associate Chief of the National Resource Conservation Services Kevin Norton Talks Conservation Efforts and Soil HealthThu, 21 Nov 2019 11:43:53 CST
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network farm director Ron Hays had a chance to sit down with Kevin Norton, the Associate Chief of the National Resource Conservation Service at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters last week in Kansas City. Prior to his current position, Kevin served as the NRCS State Conservationist in Louisiana, but Norton also has Oklahoma ties. "I was raised in Southwest Oklahoma, Anadarko, spent the bulk of my career on the Western side of Oklahoma and the state office in Stillwater, working with the conservation program."
Right now, Norton is in the process of gathering information, comments, and input from the public on the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Norton said the regulation was published last Tuesday, "We will implement off of that regulation, its an interim rule and we can implement off of those, so in 2020, CSP will be implemented off of that regulation." Norton goes on to say that they expect EQIP to happen within the next few weeks, the agriculture conservation easement program will follow and the regional conservation partnership program. "Our goal; hopefully, we will get all those approved through the office of management and budget, and they will be in full implementation after the first of January. Our state offices will know what they have available to them, and they will have the regulations and policy, and they can begin working with their farmers."
Norton reminds producers that every one of these regulations has a 60 day comment period, and that is the time to give feedback. "We want to hear from folks that use the program, folks that are vested in what those programs accomplish. We want to hear what they think, positive about it, or what they would like to see changed. We need that balance. You can't think, well, because this is the way we've always done it, we don't need to comment on it, and it will stay, because there may be a constituent agency out there that is putting comments in and saying we want to change it. So we really need to hear from our customers and those folks that are invested in conservation."
The concept of soil health seems to be more ingrained in what producers are doing more than ever before. Norton said Oklahoma is headed in the right direction, "In Oklahoma, their soil health partnership, and all the things they've got going is really a great thing. I sent my folks from Louisiana to interact with the conservation district folks and NRCS people there and brought it back. We're not where Oklahoma is in Lousiana, but we made a lot of progress because of the experiences they observed in Oklahoma."
Kevin Norton and Ron talk about these issues and more. Listen to the complete interview by clicking on the listen bar.
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