Walt Douglas Retires
Walter W. Douglas, SC NRCS State Conservationist, Retires After 42 Years of Service
Walter W. Douglas, NRCS State Conservationist of South Carolina, has retired after more than 40 years of service with the United States Department of Agriculture.
Douglas served as State Conservationist of South Carolina from May 2000 until January 2, 2008, and has a long history with NRCS and its predecessor, the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). He began his career as a soil conservationist in New Hampshire, after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Technology and Education from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. He later completed graduate work at the University of New Hampshire and Purdue University. His career with NRCS also includes District Conservationist, Soil Survey Party Leader, RC&D Coordinator and Area Conservationist positions in Indiana. Douglas then came to South Carolina in 1995 to serve as leader of the Southeast Coastal States Regional Wetlands Team.
As South Carolina’s State Conservationist, Douglas provided leadership in the implementation of a comprehensive soil and water conservation and development program for the state. This included administration of the conservation titles of the Farm Bill, managing a staff of 150 personnel, and establishing a strategic plan for immediate and long-range conservation goals. Douglas is a former member of the South Carolina AG Council and the SC Bioenergy Council. He also served on the NRCS Chief’s Policy Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Advisory Board for the East National Technology Support Center.
Douglas was instrumental in the development of the NRCS Small Farmer Initiative (spearheaded in South Carolina as a pilot program in 2004), which has now been adopted throughout the Southeast and East regions. This effort resulted in targeted outreach to underserved customers. His commitment to equal opportunity, civil rights, and outreach was applauded through the presentation of several performance-based awards, a State Civil Rights and Outreach Award, and the nomination for a National Civil Rights Award.
In 2006, former NRCS Chief Bruce Knight presented Douglas with a Circle of Excellence award for his work with the Chief’s Advisory Council. Former Chief Knight established the NRCS Circle of Excellence award in 2005 to recognize NRCS employees who epitomize support and loyalty to the agency and the mission -- the values and the ideals supported by all conservationists. Douglas became the first NRCS employee to receive this honor twice when NRCS Chief Arlen Lancaster also presented Douglas with the NRCS Circle of Excellence award in Washington, DC, in December of 2007.
Douglas has also served as President of the New Hampshire, Indiana, and SC Chapters of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) and was a member of the Executive Board of SWCS. He also held membership in several organizations, including the, National Organization of Professional Black NRCS Employees, USDA’s Organization of Professional Employees, and is a 25-year member of Kiwanis International. He and his wife Richie reside in Columbia, South Carolina. In his spare time, Douglas enjoys fishing, golfing and traveling.
Special Occasions and Events During Walt Douglas' Career in South Carolina
Walt Douglas presented with Circle of Excellence for Leadership, Dedication
Walt Douglas stars in National Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Commercial
Nation's First Grassland Easement Signed in South Carolina
South Carolina Chosen As a Pilot State of Conservation Security Program