Utah State Technical Committee
What is the State Technical Advisory Committee?
The State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) provides advice on a wide variety of policy issues to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Although State Technical Committees have no implementation or enforcement authority, USDA gives strong consideration to the Committee's recommendations.
What do they do?
Each State Technical Advisory Committee recommends criteria and guidelines for agricultural producers regarding new conservation practices and systems not already described in field office technical guide.
Responsibilities and Roles
The State Technical Advisory Committees have no implementation or enforcement authority. However, the Committees' advisory capacity extends to many of the USDA conservation programs. The responsibilities of the State Technical Advisory Committee include recommendations on technical matters such as:
- Guidelines for evaluating petitions by agricultural producers regarding new conservation practices and systems not already described in field office technical guides;
- Aspects of wetland protection, restoration, and mitigation requirements;
- Criteria to be used in evaluating bids for enrollment of environmentally-sensitive lands in the Conservation Reserve Program ;
- Guidelines for haying or grazing and the control of noxious or invasive weeds;
- Wetland and highly erodible land conservation compliance exemptions and the appeals process;
- Methods to address common weed and pest problems and programs to control weeds and pests found on acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program;
- Guidelines for planting perennial cover for water quality and wildlife habitat improvement;
- Criteria and priorities for state initiatives under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program;
- Criteria to prioritize applications from applicants with significant statewide resource concerns;
- Criteria and priorities for the Utah AFO/CAFO Statewide Strategy.
- Suggestions on how often producers' applications are ranked and selected; and
- Determination of cost share and incentive payment limits for participants subject to environmental requirements or with significant statewide resource concerns.
State Technical Advisory Committees may offer recommendations on other matters determined appropriate by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist. USDA will seek State Technical Committee recommendations including, but not limited to, the following:
- The identification and prioritization of Statewide resource concerns, as related to distribution of Farm Bill program funding;
- The implementation of the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program;
- The development of a statewide Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP);
- Statewide program guidelines applicable to WRP easement compensation, restoration planning, priority ranking, and related policy matters;
- The technical merits of proposals submitted for the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program;
- Identification of any categories of conversion activities and conditions, which are routinely determined by NRCS to have minimal effect on wetland functions and values;
- Conservation techniques and measures related to achieving environmental justice needs; and
- Types or classes of wetland that are not eligible for mitigation exemption under the Wetland Conservation provisions.
When do they meet?
The STAC usually meets quarterly or as needed. The schedule may change as determined by the State Conservationist. The meetings originate from various locations around the state. Efforts are underway to create greater accessibility and opportunities to participate in the STAC meeting by utilizing net meeting software that allows participants to log on from their home or office computer, or attend at a designated NRCS field office where the meeting will be monitored. This system allows for two way audio communications, so questions can be asked and comments made by phone from any location logged into the net meeting bridge.
A public meeting notice is placed in various publications at least two weeks prior to the meeting.
Local Working Groups
NRCS District Conservationists across the state meet with local working groups to discuss local issues and concerns.
For more information about the STAC and their role, contact Kia Earl at (801) 524-4555.