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News Release

USDA announces new Massachusetts State Conservationist

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer

Dan Wright

AMHERST, Mass., Sept. 24, 2019 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has selected Daniel Wright to serve as State Conservationist for Massachusetts. As State Conservationist, Wright will oversee the federal agency’s programs, operations and staff in the Bay State. He will begin his new position on September 30th, succeeding Christine Clarke, who retired in May.

Wright began his career with NRCS in California as an intern before transitioning to a Soil Conservationist position in California. Dan has worked in five offices across California, New Hampshire and Massachusetts as a Soil Conservationist, Resource Conservationist, District Conservationist and, most recently, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs in Massachusetts.

“I grew up in California, surrounded by the farms of the Sacramento Valley, and enjoyed the connection to the land and farmers while working at a tomato breeding research facility in high school,” said Wright. “Early in my career I worked in corporate retail management where I learned the values of employee relations, business management and customer service. However, my passion for the land and agriculture kept a hold on me, so I left the corporate world and returned to get a degree in Agriculture Science.”

Wright is an alumnus of the College of Agriculture at the California State University, Chico where he graduated with honors with a degree in Agriculture Science.  While attending college Wright focused his studies on plant and soil science and completed several internships including farm management, greenhouse management and a year with an aquaculture facility before starting with NRCS.

“I’ve enjoyed working with diverse agricultural crops and producers, building partnerships, and helping food and fiber production across the nation,” said Wright. “I’m looking forward to continuing this work in Massachusetts and supporting productive lands and a healthy environment. And, I’d like to thank Nicole Viars from NRCS West Virginia for serving as Acting State Conservationist for the past four months.”

Wright now lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with his wife and two children. Outside of work Wright enjoys spending time with his family, being outdoors, gardening and is an avid beekeeper.

NRCS is a federal agency that provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and other landowners to help them improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency has a state headquarters in Amherst, where Wright will be based, and seven field offices across the Bay State that work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in their community. For more information, visit