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State Technical Committee

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Introduction to the North Carolina State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC)

What is the State Technical Advisory Committee?

The Food Security Act of 1985, as amended, authorizes the State Technical Advisory Committee to provide recommendations for establishing technical guidelines and program criteria and priorities necessary to carry out conservation provisions of the Farm Bill. The committee also helps assure that civil rights requirements in program delivery are met. Additionally, the State Technical Advisory Committee provides recommendations on a number of issues within a variety of conservation programs. Although the State Technical Advisory Committee has no implementation or enforcement authority, USDA gives strong consideration to the committee's recommendations.

Roles and Responsibilities

The State Technical Advisory Committee may advise the NRCS state conservationist on many issues. Examples include:

  • State program management policies and procedures

  • State program management policies and procedures Technical programmatic recommendations

  • Statewide public information and outreach campaigns

  • Identifying significant statewide natural resource concerns

  • Guidelines for developing ranking criteria for evaluating applications

  • Guidance on eligible conservation practices

  • Technical guidance on conservation practices, including new, innovative practices

  • Cost-share rates and incentive payment limits and methods of payment

  • Identifying, monitoring, and analyzing performance indicators

  • Evaluating and reporting program impacts on natural resources and the environment

  • Coordinating with other federal, state, tribal, and local public and private activities

Who are the Committee Members?

North Carolina State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and any formed subcommittee serve in an advisory capacity to the NRCS and other agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the implementation of the natural resources conservation provisions of Farm Bill legislation. The NRCS reserves the authority to accept or reject the committee’s recommendations.  However, the NRCS will give strong consideration to the STAC’s recommendations.  The NRCS State Conservationist, or their designee, leads the STAC.  The committee is composed of representatives from federal and state natural resource agencies, American Indian Tribes, agricultural and environmental organizations, and agricultural producers.  To learn more about the function and role of the STAC please click here.

Invitation to participate will be made by the state conservationist in order to assure a balance of representation of the many resource and conservation issues.

  • Representatives on the committee may include:

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

  • Farm Service Agency

  • Forest Service

  • Extension Service

  • Farmers Home Administration

  • Fish and Wildlife Service

  • State fish and wildlife agency

  • State forester or equivalent official

  • State water resources agency

  • State department of agriculture

  • State association of soil and water conservation districts

  • Other agency personnel with expertise in soil, water, wetland, and wildlife management

  • Agricultural producers with demonstrable conservation expertise

  • Nonprofit organizations with demonstrable conservation expertise

  • Persons knowledgeable about conservation techniques

The State Conservationist may assemble subcommittees within the STAC to address specific issues, analyze various Farm Bill programs, and address special programs or initiatives. The subcommittee meetings are scheduled to coincide with requirements for the implementation of specific programs.  Recommendations resulting from a subcommittee session will be made in a general session of the STAC.

Through a locally led process, local work groups also serve an advisory role and may participate in the STAC or its subcommittee meetings.  Locally led conservation is a critical first step in identifying natural resource priorities and forming cooperative conservation efforts.  The local work group process helps NRCS and the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) identify technical and financial assistance priorities throughout the year.  While local work group meetings can be held anytime, they typically occur between Augusts 1 and September 30 and are announced on the NRCS Events and Deadlines Dashboard click here

STAC meetings are open to the public.  Individuals or groups wanting to participate as members of the STAC are encouraged to send a request to the State Conservationist explaining their interest and credentials.  Please send a letter of interest along with supporting documentation to either of the following:

State Technical Committee Membership
Attn: North Carolina State Conservationist
4407 Bland Road, Suite 117
Raleigh, NC 27609

or Submit by email to Stuart Lee, NC NRCS information Officer, at Stuart.Lee@nc.usda.gov

Membership list 

Chairperson

The North Carolina State Technical Committee is chaired by the state conservationist who can be contacted at the following address:

Timothy Beard State Conservationist USDA-NRCS Suite 117, 4407 Bland Road, Raleigh, NC. 27609.  You can also submit questions about the State Technical Advisory Committee meeting to Greg Walker, Assistant State Conservationist for Program, at Greg.Walker@usda.gov., or Stuart Lee, State Public Affairs Office, as Stuart.Lee@usda.gov.  

Meeting Dates

While the STAC should meet at least twice a year at a time and place designated by the State Conservationist, other meetings may be held at the discretion of the State Conservationist.  The following are set dates for the STAC and the currently formed subcommittees (Forestry & Wildlife and Easement):

State Technical Advisory Committee

  • 2nd Wednesday in March
  • 2nd Wednesday in August

Subcommittees (Forestry & Wildlife and Easement)

  • 2nd Wednesday in February 
  • 2nd Wednesday in June

The State Conservationist or the assigned NRCS designee will inform the STAC as to the decisions made in response to all STAC recommendations within 90 days of each meeting, if needed.


NRCS Resource Concerns and Priorities

Resource Concerns:

To support and compliment the NRCS National and State Priorities, NRCS has identified the following as its state priority resource concerns.  A resource concern is an expected degradation of the soil, water, air, plant, or animal resource base to an extent the sustainability or intended use of the resource impaired:

  • Water Quality Degradation
  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Inadequate Habitat for Fish and Wildlife
  • Soil Erosion
  • Soil Quality Degradation
  • Inefficient Energy Use
  • Livestock Production Limitation
  • Air Quality
  • Excess Water
  • Insufficient Water

Examples of EQIP ranking pools and associated resource concerns (click here for complete list):

  • Cropland (soil erosion and water quality)
  • Pasture (water quality)
  • Longleaf Pine (degraded plant condition)
  • Working Lands for Wildlife – Northern Bobwhite Quail – Pine Savanna (inadequate fish and wildlife habitat)
  • Golden Winged Warbler (inadequate fish and wildlife habitat)
  • Western Stream Initiative (livestock production, water quality, degraded plant condition, etc.)
  • Organic Certified/Transition (water and soil quality degradation degraded plant condition)

National Priorities:

  • Reduction of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and the reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations;
  • Conservation of ground and surface water resources;
  • Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land;
  • Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat;
  • Energy conservation to help save fuel, improve efficiency of water use, maintain production, and protect soil and water resources by more efficiently using fertilizers and pesticides.

In addition, North Carolina has identified the following priorities  to support national priorities:
 

  • Livestock: address natural resource concerns related to storage, treatment, and management of animal waste;
  • Cropland: assist producers with resource concerns on croplands such as soil quality, erosion control, and with water conservation on irrigated cropland;
  • Water Quality: assist producers with installing conservation practices such as waste storage structures, heavy use area protection, riparian buffers, cover crops, filter strips and waterways to address phosphorus, bacteria, and sediment impairments which may be caused by soil erosion, exposed soil, and lack of riparian buffers and filter strips;
  • Erosion control: help producers with identifying conservation practices that will benefit the operation and alleviate the resource concern such as long-term no-till, cover crops, filter strips, field borders, stream exclusion fencing, prescribed grazing, stream crossings, watering facilities, and tree/shrub establishment;
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement: NRCS is currently targeting longleaf pine management/establishment, Golden Winged Warbler, pollinators, aquatic barrier removal, and upland wildlife openings.  Efforts are underway concerning the development of programs that can benefit the hellbender salamander and the bog turtle and associated species with similar habitat needs.  To help with inadequate fish and wildlife habitat, participants are being encouraged to install conservation practices such as field borders, early successional and pollinator habitat; moreover, conversations are revolving around forest stand improvement, prescribed burning, and midstory release.

North Carolina NRCS Program Deadlines

USDA – NRCS – North Carolina – Events & Deadlines

How Partners Can Help

  • Work with local working groups to identify target areas and priorities
  • Collaborate with NRCS to provide voluntary, expert technical assistance to landowners for the development of conservation plans
     - Example plans can be found under eFOTG < Sec III < Conservation Activity Plans (CAP) Technical Criteria
  • Work in partnership with NRCS in outreach activities to extend services to those in need