Skip Navigation

News Release

USDA announces new New Jersey State Conservationist

Contact:
Lauren Finnegan, Public Affairs Specialist
732-537-6044


– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has selected Julie Hawkins to serve as State Conservationist for New Jersey.

SOMERSET, N.J., July 13, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has selected Julie Hawkins to serve as State Conservationist for New Jersey. As State Conservationist, Hawkins will oversee the federal agency’s programs, operations, and staff in the Garden State. She will begin her new position on July 19.

Julie’s first interaction with NRCS was in 1994 as an Earth Team Volunteer, while in graduate school at the University of Maryland, College Park. She was hired full-time with NRCS in 1996 as a Soil Conservationist in Maryland and later served on the East Region-IRT Team in Dover, Delaware.

In 2004, Julie became the Virginia State Biologist, and following formal training through Virginia’s Natural Resource Leadership Institute, was named Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations. Most recently, Julie took on the role of Assistant State Conservationist for Programs in 2014.

“My passion for conservation developed from growing up and recreating in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” Hawkins said. “I took my very first soils class at the University of Maryland with Ray Weil who wrote the book “The Nature and Property of Soils.”  This opened up a whole new world to me and enticed me to change my field of study and ultimately the trajectory of my career.”

Julie holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management, Soil and Water, as well as a Master of Science in Environmental Science, Wetland Emphasis, from the University of Maryland at College Park.  She also completed graduate studies in the Strategic Leadership Development Program through NRCS and George Washington University in 2014.

Julie is passionate about NRCS’s ability to build long-term trusting relationships with generations of landowners through their voluntary, non-regulatory conservation programs. Having over 25 years of experience with NRCS, she has been on the front lines as they have evolved to address all conservation issues.

“I plan to continue to provide the high-quality assistance NJ farmers and landowners have come to expect from NRCS and will support the staff in developing technical resources and programmatic offerings to carry on the legacy of conservation that has lasted over 85 years.”

Julie has three children, and in her free time enjoys reading, fishing, swimming, and skiing.