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News Release

New State Conservationist Joins USDA in Vermont

Jeremy J. Fowler, Public Affairs Specialist
(603) 866-9913 x131

COLCHESTER, Vermont (Feb. 9, 2022) – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently selected an experienced soil conservationist and agronomist for its top position in Vermont.

A portrait of the USDA's selection for State Conservationist, Travis Thomason.  Mr. Thomason poses for a photo in front of the American flag. He is wearing a Hawaiian-style shirt and is currently serving as the director of the Pacific Island Region for NRCS.
NRCS-Vermont State Conservationist
Travis Thomason

Travis Thomason, who has been with NRCS since 2005 and most recently served as the agency’s Director for the Pacific Islands Area based in Hawaii, will join NRCS-Vermont as its State Conservationist later this month. In this position he will oversee more than 70 federal soil conservationists, engineers and program administrators in 11 offices throughout the state.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who has championed USDA conservation programs as the senior-most member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and former chair of the committee, said: “I welcome Mr. Thomason to Vermont and look forward to supporting his work.  NRCS programs are tremendously important to Vermont farmers, especially as our farm sector has moved quickly to address water quality concerns.  I am pleased to see NRCS doing more with specialty crop producers and forest landowners.  This agency is a lynchpin of the federal response to climate change, and Mr. Thomason will be in a position to keep Vermont at the forefront of this work.”  

Thomason is replacing NRCS-Vermont State Conservationist Vicky Drew, who retired last July after nearly 38 years of service.

“I look forward to working closely with all of our conservation-minded employees and partners in Vermont, and I want to help build on the strong commitment to natural resources that people expect when they work with NRCS,” Thomason said. “NRCS is already focused on issues that are important to Vermonters – from water and soil quality, to climate-smart agriculture – and our team will continue to work through strong partnerships to achieve those goals. I appreciate the opportunity to continue the impactful work already being done by this team of professionals.”

Thomason is originally from Idaho where he grew up in a small farming community. He majored in Agronomy at Brigham Young University, and began his career with NRCS in 2005 as a Soil Conservationist in Utah. He later served as a District Conservationist in Utah and Pennsylvania, and then returned to Utah in 2011 as an Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations. During this time he also held other leadership assignments, such as Acting State Conservationist in Idaho and Acting Environmental Quality Incentives Program Team Lead in Washington, D.C.

Since May 2017 he has served as Director for the Pacific Islands Area based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and recently he completed a seven-month assignment as the Acting Ecological Sciences Division Director at the NRCS national office.

Thomason and his wife have six children who enjoy reading, taking care of animals, and being outdoors.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides leadership and technical assistance to address natural resource conservation issues on private land. NRCS employees work to improve and protect natural resources in partnership with Vermont’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts, federal, state and local agencies, farmers, landowners and communities.  The partnership's commitment to conservation provides a solid foundation to a locally led program delivery system.  The partnership is also committed to a voluntary, incentive-based approach to private land stewardship and conservation treatment.


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