Members of the public in Mower, Dodge, Freeborn and Steele Counties are wanted to serve on a Local Work Group for the Team 19 area of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Minnesota

Determining priority areas for conservation funding in Mower, Dodge, Freeborn and Steele counties is the focus of a meeting next month that will bring those communities together for the first time.

Members of the public in those four counties are wanted to serve on the Local Work Group for the Team 19 area of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Minnesota. NRCS wants a diverse group focused on agricultural interests and natural-resource issues in the four counties.

This meeting is set for 9 a.m. to noon June 14 at Blooming Prairie’s City Hall at 138 U.S. 218 North. All members of the public can attend the meeting and provide comment; those who apply and are accepted to the group’s membership can make decisions on final recommendations for the delivery of federal conservation programs locally, particularly the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Staff with the local NRCS offices and soil-and-water conservation districts (SWCD) are seeking applicants to serve on the Local Work Group that consists of agricultural producers; professionals who represent ag and natural-resource interests; and people from a variety of areas of soil, water, wetland, plant, forestry and wildlife sciences.

Jessica Beske, district conservationist for Mower County’s USDA-NRCS office in Austin stated that for the past two years, this annual meeting has been done virtually but this year’s gathering will be the first in-person Local Working Group meeting for the Team 19 counties. Team 19 has a fund pool under NRCS, she said, that was created, along others in the state, to better ensure federal conservation funds were spent on local conservation priorities.

At the Blooming Prairie meeting next month, Beske stated that each county with Team 19 will have at least one subwatershed identified as a priority area.

Adam King, district manager for Dodge Soil & Water Conservation District, will lead the meeting that will identify priority resource concerns – such as soil erosion and water quality – and priority areas for conservation programs to focus cost-share assistance on for grassed waterways, cover crops, reduced tillage and other practices.

Applications for the Local Work Group are available on Mower SWCD’s homepage online at www.mowerswcd.org.

Individuals or groups interested in becoming a member of the Local Work Group can submit an application that explains their interest and outlines their credentials for serving as a member. Completed applications can be sent to [email protected] in the Mower County NRCS office.

A summary of the Team 19 meeting will be available at NRCS offices in Mower, Dodge, Freeborn and Steele counties.

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