The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin has announced the schedule for 2017 Local Working Group (LWG) meetings. Eighteen meetings will be held across Wisconsin in June to gather input and help set priorities for U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs under the 2014 Farm Bill. The local meeting for Kewaunee, Door, Brown and Outagamie counties is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. June 22 at the Jack Day Environmental Education Center, 90 Bay Beach Road, Green Bay.

“Local Working Groups offer a seat at the table for interested individuals and groups to advise NRCS on how best to set priorities and locally implement conservation programs,” said Jimmy Bramblett, Wisconsin state conservationist. “Members are diverse with an interest and focus on local agriculture and natural resource issues.”

Farmers representing a variety of crops and livestock raised within the local area, private woodland owners, representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations, and representatives of other agriculture and natural resource agencies are welcome and should be represented.

Wisconsin LWGs represent two or more counties grouped together by geography, similar land use, resources, and type of agriculture. This allows greater flexibility and access to funding for the groups.

One of the main programs discussed at the meetings will be the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a federal conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. EQIP offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners with needed conservation practices for water quality, soil health, wildlife and other natural resources. The program was re-authorized through 2019 in the federal Farm Bill, which was passed in February 2014.

Local Working Group meetings are open to the public. Anyone interested in becoming a member and participating in LWGs should contact the NRCS District Conservationist in their county. Contact Kewaunee County District Conservationist Joe Johnson if you are interested in participating. For detailed information on local work groups, see What are Local Working Groups and see the Schedule of Meetings.