Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Deputy Chief Karen Woodrich

Karen Woodrich is the Deputy Chief for Programs at NRCS.

Woodrich began her professional career with NRCS as a Soil Conservationist in 1998 in 

headshot of karen woodrich, deputy chief for programs

Portage, MI.  She spent the next 10 years in MI and WI working directly with farmers and forester owners as a Soil Conservationist and District Conservationist covering diverse types of agriculture, both large and small, along with a wide range of conservation resource concerns.

Karen went on to lead water quality and performance efforts in north central Iowa and managed partnerships, business planning, quality assurance and performance metrics in Illinois.

While Woodrich is the Deputy Chief for Programs, she came from Kansas NRCS where she has served as State Conservationist since 2018. Through collaborative partnerships and innovative solutions, Karen and her team of engineers, soil scientists, range and soil conservationists, technicians, agronomists, archaeologists and biologists are working with farmers, ranchers and forest users to balance natural resource priorities with agriculture and forest production goals. Kansas NRCS leads the region in technical tool development and is focused on Great Plains grasslands concerns and soil health conservation efforts that address water quality and quantity efforts across the landscape.

Over her 24 years with USDA, Karen has worked on several projects to further streamlining efforts in program and technical service delivery, while promoting diversity and inclusion of services and staff. She has served in multiple national capacities at the NRCS National Office as Acting Regional Conservationist, Acting Ecological Sciences Division Director and as an Acting Senior Policy Advisor to the Undersecretary at the US Department of Agriculture. She is a 2020 graduate of the USDA Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program.

Karen is a native of central Wisconsin, with a background in dairy and Christmas tree farming. Karen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Soil Science, from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. She resides in Salina, KS, with her husband.