Local Led Info

Local Working Groups

The implementation of 2021 programs place great importance on the roles and responsibilities of
the Local Working Groups in each county. In each state, the Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) has established a State Technical Committee to assist in making
recommendations regarding implementation of technical aspects of natural resource conservation
activities and programs. This is an advisory committee that may be utilized by any USDA
agency with conservation obligations.

The Farm Bill designates the Local Working Groups as a subcommittee of the State Technical
Committee. The Local Working Group’s role is to provide similar recommendations and advice
as the State Technical Committee, with a focus on the resource priorities of the local community.
These priority resource concerns will be used to prioritize the rankings for the Environmental
Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP.) The Local
Working Group should consist of representatives who are able to provide input on the wide
range of natural resource and agricultural concerns for a county. The Local Working Groups
provide recommendations on local natural resource priorities and criteria for conservation
activities and programs, within the scope of State outlined resource priorities (7 CFR 610.25(2)).

At a minimum, the following individuals are to be invited to participate in the Local Working
Group (CPM 440 Part 510 Subpart B):

  • Member(s) of the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) board
  • NRCS Designated Conservationist
  • Agricultural producers representing the variety of crops and livestock operations in the county, including but not limited to commodity crop producers, specialty crop producers, confined animal facility producers, pastured livestock producers, historically underserved producers etc. These individuals are not required to have conservation expertise
  • Non-industrial private forest landowners
  • Member(s) of the County Farm Service Agency (FSA) Committee
  • Cooperative Extension (board members or managers)
  • Other Federal and State government representatives and professionals representing relevant agricultural and conservation interests such as:
    • Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Fish and Wildlife
    • Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry
    • Indiana State Department of Agriculture
    • Indiana Department of Environmental Management – Watershed Specialists
    • Private contractors and consultants
    • Non-government organizations (livestock groups, commodity groups, not-for-profit groups, etc.)

Also consider inviting:

  • State or local elected or appointed officials
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service Biologists
  • S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • The Environmental Protection Agency
  • FSA County Executive Director or designee
  • Individuals with experience in natural resource conservation subjects specific to historically underserved groups and individuals (i.e. minorities, women, economically and socially disadvantaged, )

The Local Working Group meeting is considered a public meeting and will follow standard state open meeting laws, like the requirements of SWCD Board Meetings. At a minimum, the Local Working Group meeting announcement will be published 14 days prior to the meeting date, in at least one or more newspapers, and any other suitable media circulation. Local Working Group should include information about the format of the meeting with consideration to COVID-19 so members of the public may participate in whatever format is used. Due to COVID-19 a non-contact form of communication must be used therefore please consider:

  • The public meeting announcement ensuring any interested members of the public will be included in email or other communication if they contact the SWCD in advance of the meeting deadline.
  • At a minimum a phone/virtual meeting will occur to discuss the process and importance of the resource concern evaluation.

We are continuing to ask the Local Working Groups to discuss how well Indiana’s current
technical information and programs address local resource concerns. To assist in relaying this
information to the Indiana State Technical Committee, please complete the attached survey
(Attachment C) to provide input from the Local Working Group meeting. District
Conservationists should summarize comments and recommendations using the electronic version
of Attachment C, this form is optional.