By Rebekah Perry / August 31, 2020 / 3 Comments
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Rebekah Perry farms with her husband Neal at their diversified farm in Brownington, VT. They raise grassfed beef, lamb & freerange broilers using horse power for much of the haying and manure spreading. See more at www.nealperryfarm.com.
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Thanks for your reply and for the links. I’m glad to say my experience with Michigan State Extension personnel has been very good. Same with Conservation District people who share the office building with NRCS. But we are talking about applying for cost share to set up a managed grazing system and only NRCS does that. I know many people have worked successfully with NRCS in other states and even in other counties in my state. I’ve been on pasture walks with very nice NRCS fence and water installations. I read “Fridays on the Farm” which describes the great conservation practices NRCS has implemented on farms and ranches around the country. This just adds to the frustration for those of us unlucky to be in counties or regions where NRCS is broken. We are just left wondering why.
Re: NRCS EQIP cost share for grazing practice – my experience in Michigan could not be further from Rebekah’s in Vermont. There is no friendly District Conservationist in the local office to answer anything. Bruce says to check with the office to see how the political winds are blowing and what the ranking priorities are, but I have never found anyone who could or would answer these questions. The lack of transparency from NRCS is apalling. None of this information is available on their website and the client portal is unusable.
Almost every farming book and article( like this one) extolls the virtues of NRCS and encourages farmers to apply for technical assistance. I feel this is irresponsible as it encourages people to get involved with NRCS to their own detriment. I glad that NRCS is functioning well in some parts of Vermont, but it is certainly broken here.
Dang, Emily! I’m so sorry to hear that. I know from my own experience working for a federal agency that offices in different states and regions will function very differently.
On the other hand, I’ve worked with LOTS of NRCS staff and offices who are just like the folks that Rebekah worked with. And I’ve worked all over the place – Colorado, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont – these are all places that I’ve had great experiences. The folks I’ve met are hard working, eager to help, and get things done.
If you’re not getting the help you would like to from your local office, other options are to find an extension person. I know there are great folks at Michigan State Cooperative Extension, some of whom are at the forefront of regenerative ag. Here’s a link to find staff you might work with. You can also check out districts in your area using this link.
I hope that helps you find some local support. And feel free to email me and we can get on the phone for a chat.
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