Providing one-on-one technical assistance to local landowners

Contact your local SWCD office to receive instruction and further your own efforts.

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Our soil and water conservation district recently held a tour for our local officials to showcase the work we do with landowners in our community.

We chartered a tour bus and made arrangements with four different landowners to come to their property and talk about conservation practices that we helped install.

The practices included two with USDA cost share and two with landowners footing the cost for the entire practice. The common thread was the one-on-one technical assistance from our SWCD staff.

Education

For anyone that knows me; they know how much I value conservation education.

I worked with students for many years and will always believe it was time well spent to instill that appreciation for our soil and water resources at a young age. However, I believe that we need to educate adults about soil and water conservation as well.

Soil and water conservation districts were built on technical assistance and this one-on-one education is the foundation of our program. Most of our technicians would not call it education but that is what it is.

Landowners come to us with resource concerns and we help them understand why it is happening and how we can help fix it.

Costly

The conservation practices to fix these concerns come with a cost; and often a high cost.

Our technicians are aware of USDA cost share programs and can help landowners get signed up to help with some of these costs if applicable. But many of our projects do not qualify for cost share and landowners still look to us for help resolving the issue.

This could be anything from engineering plans to looking up regulations that may affect the project. Our goal is to help anyone that calls or comes through our door, be it rural or urban landowner.

Educating officials

Back to our tour, some of those attending included county commissioners, mayor and city council members, county departments, school officials, and present and past SWCD supervisors.

Helping these individuals understand what we do and why is important because we depend on their support both financially and cooperatively.

Taking a tour bus allows us to keep the group together and we also use bus time to talk more about our program. Having the landowner involved with our tour gives our audience a broader perspective of the project.

Landowners

The landowner is the person most invested in the resource issue and the one to also manage the conservation practice on a day-to-day basis.

Most landowners are proud of the conservation practices they have installed and can be great speakers for our programs.

We heard many positive comments about our tour and also suggestions about how we can make it better. We only do this tour every other year due to the expense and time required to host it.

The tour is a huge undertaking but I always learn something new and there is no better way to understand how a practice works than to see it.

Share with us

If you have a soil and water resource concern, contact the technical staff at your local soil and water conservation district. Let them help you solve your issue and educate you at the same time.

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Raised on a grain farm in Morrow County, Deb Bigelow is the program administrator for the Coshocton Soil and Water Conservation District. She can be reached at debbigelow@coshoctoncounty.net.

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