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Locally Led Priorities

Setting Local Priorities Based on Local Input and Needs Assessment

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What is a Local Working Group

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), reaffirmed the need for Local Working Groups and expanded the composition to include agricultural producers representing the variety of crops and livestock and/or poultry raised within the local area; owners of nonindustrial private forest land, as appropriate; representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations; and representatives of governmental agencies carrying out agricultural and natural resource conservation programs and activities. 

 Local Working Groups (LWGs) are considered to be subcommittees of the State Technical Advisory Committee and provide recommendations to the District Conservationist and the State Conservationist on local natural resource priorities and criteria for conservation activities and programs.  The LWGs can provide valuable input to both the District and NRCS.  LWGs should not be viewed as simply a requirement of the Farm Bill.  These groups should be utilized to help identify conservation priorities and strategies, regardless of the program that may eventually be used to help address the issue.  Certainly one use for information obtained from these LWGs is to help tailor federal and state conservation programs to meet resource needs.  Many of the NRCS programs allow proposals for local special initiatives that a LWG may recommend.  However, local districts can use input from the LWG to ensure the local conservation program is designed to address the most critical resource concerns within the county.  This information can also be valuable as the district seeks other funding, such as grants, to address resource issues.

 Local Working Group membership should be diverse and focus on natural resource issues existing in the local community.  To ensure that recommendations of the Local Working Group take into account the needs of diverse groups served by the conservation partnership, membership should include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent the conservation and related technical concerns of particular historically underserved groups and individuals including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Minorities;
  • Women;
  • Persons with disabilities; and
  • Socially and economically disadvantaged groups

Local Working Group Meetings

The Farm Bill legislation recommends that the Soil and Water Conservation District chairs the Local Work Group but this is not a regular district meeting.  Local Working Group meetings are open to the public. Public notice of Local Working Group meetings should be provided at least 14 calendar days prior to the scheduled meeting using appropriate communications channels to reach interested individuals throughout the local working group area.