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Annual Natural Resources Prioritization Meeting

“Local Working Group Meeting”

The NRCS Northwest Zone and the Franklin County Conservation District would like your help in revising NRCS funding priorities for the coming 2020 year. We invite you to a meeting on Wednesday, August 28th from 2:30-4:00pm to discuss responses to our FY2020 Locally Led Conservation Survey. The goal of the survey and meeting is to incorporate the knowledge and perspectives of local farmers, loggers, foresters, crop advisers, residents and natural resources professionals into the prioritization of NRCS and Conservation District funding and programming.

The meeting will be held upstairs at the St. Albans Free Library. Limited street parking is available, or the Rite Aid/Planet Fitness parking lot is only a 3 minute walk away. Both the survey and the meeting are open to the public. RSVPs to requested but not required. A rough agenda is below:

  • (10 mins) Welcome, purpose for meeting, overview of Districts, NRCS and Local Working Group prioritization process
  • (10 mins) NRCS Wynea Buford
    • what NRCS has prioritized in Vermont and the NW Zone over the last Farm Bill,
    • relevant changes in the new Farm Bill and NRCS Vermont statewide priorities and programs,
  • (15 mins) Forestry & Wildlife
    • Brief presentation of survey results and current local Ranking Questions
    • Participant input
  • (15 mins) Farmsteads
    • Brief presentation of survey results and current local Ranking Questions
    • Participant input
  • (15 mins) Cropland
    • Brief presentation of survey results and current local Ranking Questions
    • Participant input
  • (15 mins) Grazing
    • Brief presentation of survey results and current local Ranking Questions
    • Participant input
  • (10 mins) Overall comments, how NRCS and the District will follow-up, and opportunities for further engagement

Your Conservation District and NRCS staff are passionate about local accountability and local relevance for our programs. We believe this meeting and survey represent legitimate avenues for local control in the programs that work in our counties, but there are also limitations in our ability to adapt based on your feedback.

Leverage-points for local leadership via the Local Working Group survey and meeting:

  • Locally-determined ranking questions account for 1/3 of the ranking weight for NRCS EQIP applications.
  • The Franklin County Conservation District will work to direct technical and educational programming towards the areas prioritized by the Local Working Group.
  • Feedback on NRCS payment rates and technical specifications are communicated directly to NRCS leadership.

Limitations on local leadership via the Local Working Group survey and meeting:

  • The other 2/3 of ranking weight for NRCS EQIP applications is determined at the State and National levels.
  • Locally-determined ranking questions may be subject to vetting at the NRCS state level.
  • Mechanisms for local participation in ranking for other NRCS programs such as CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program) are less clear.
  • Mechanisms for local participation in determining the relative distribution of funds to the Farmstead, Forestry, Cropland and Pasture funding pools is unclear.
  • Franklin County competes with other counties for NRCS funding, so altering priorities within our county may lessen our competitiveness against other counties.
  • VT NRCS must work within the bounds of federal NRCS standards when adjusting payment rates and technical standards.
  • The Franklin County Conservation District is entirely grant-funded, so our ability to redirect our programming is dependent on the availability of grant or philanthropic funds, or dedicated volunteers, to support that work.

Being in a small state, we are lucky that the State level of NRCS is very accessible. If you would like to participate in state-level NRCS discussions, please contact NRCS Public Affairs Officer Amy Overstreet to attend an NRCS State Technical Committee Meeting.

The FY2021 Locally Led Conservation Survey will be available beginning in October and throughout the coming year in preparation for the August 2020 meeting for FY2021 priorities.


About NRCS EQIP Ranking

NRCS Local Working Group Bulletin 2019

Current NRCS Ranking Questions – Forestry & Wildlife

Current NRCS Ranking Questions – Farmstead

Current NRCS Ranking Questions – Grazing

Current NRCS Ranking Questions – Cropland

Current NRCS EQIP Practice Payment Schedule

Part of the mission of the the Franklin County Conservation District is to help make relevant Federal and State programs as transparent and accessible as possible for our community. Please share these documents widely, and let us know if we can find more information for you.

Board Meetings

The Supervisors of the Franklin County Natural Resources Conservation District meet every other month in the Conference Room at the USDA-NRCS office in St. Albans (50 S. Main St., rear entrance.) Meeting dates are set at the end of the previous meeting, but are generally the first Thursday of every other month (February, April, June, August, October, December.) Meetings typically run from 3:00 – 5:00pm.

Our meetings are open to the public, but we would appreciate an RSVP ( or 802-528-4176) if you plan to attend. We do require anyone wishing to make a comment or question to get on our agenda by contacting the District Manager at or 802-528-4176 by at least the Tuesday prior to the meeting.

The next board meeting will be on Thursday, July 16th, from 3:00 – 5:00pm. Due to COVID-19, the meeting will be held via conference call. Please email or call Jeannie at 802-528-4176 for call-in information.


Approved meeting minutes:

(Minutes 2020 06 18 pending approval)

Minutes 2020 05 07_approved 2020 06 18

Minutes 2020 03 26_approved 2020 05 07

Minutes 2020 02 06_approved 2020 03 26

Minutes 2019 12 19_approved 2020 02 06

Minutes 2019 10 03_approved 2019 12 19

Minutes 2019 09 10_approved 2019 10 03

Minutes 2019 08 01_approved 2019 09 10

Minutes 2019 06 06_approved 2019 08 01

Minutes 2019 04 04_approved 2019 06 06

Minutes 2019 02 07_approved 2019 04 04

Minutes 2018 12 04_approved 2019 02 07

Minutes 2018 11 07_approved 2018 12 04

Minutes 2018 10 02_approved 2018 11 07

Minutes 2018 08 16_approved 2018 10 02

Minutes 2018 07 05_approved 2018 08 16

email for older minutes