The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a division many of you are familiar with known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Their Technical Committee met for the first-time face to face this past week since the pandemic began in 2020. The head of the NRCS in North Dakota is Mary Podoll. Mary has held that position for the last 11 years and is retiring soon. Daughter of a farmer and married to one, she is staying in our state after retirement. She spoke of always wanting to help farmers and worked to do that while acknowledging in her goodbye that at times not all have been happy with her — probably true of anyone’s career, I would presume. We wish you the best going forward, Mary.
The meeting featured a presentation by a self-professed nerd, Dr. Mike Strobel of the NRCS on a big effort to meet the challenges of our changing climate. Called the Climate Change Adaption plan, they hope to keep the agency responsive and helpful going forward. The second presentation was by two North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation District people who laid out a new website intended to inform and serve producers and landowners. They are working to be available online by mid-2023. Called Dakota Legacy Initiative, it was explained by Rhonda Kelsch and Sarah Tunge. This large educational and coordinating effort and resulting portal has been branded the Dakota Legacy Initiative which is now sporting an official logo. Many groups have supported this work, including your NDSGA and there will be much to follow in this upcoming year.
Kevin Kading of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department was in attendance. He is the main man for the Private Land Open to Sportsman (PLOTS) program, and I told him that I would remind readers of the option to enroll some habitat if it would help their operations. He would be happy to speak with you. For more information, go to: https://bit.ly/PLOTSProgram.
This morning your NDSGA testified on two bills that would help rural road funding. The first was SB 2275 and it would move a $400 million...