National Association of Conservation Districts will be core partner of new initiative.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

February 14, 2024

2 Min Read
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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary for Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small and Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie announced this week the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) establishment of a new Working Lands Climate Corps (WLCC). A partnership with AmeriCorps, The Corps Network and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), WLCC will provide technical training and career pathway opportunities for at least 100 young Americans, helping them deliver economic benefits through climate-smart agriculture solutions for farmers and ranchers across the country.

“USDA is proud to partner with the National Association of Conservation Districts in the development and implementation of the Working Lands Climate Corps,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “This new program will provide technical training and career pathway opportunities for young people and help deliver climate-smart agriculture solutions for farmers, ranchers, and producers across the United States now and in the future.”

Announced at the NACD’s 78th Annual Meeting, NACD said it is pleased to serve alongside the USDA, AmeriCorps, and The Corps Network in establishing the WLCC. NACD will be a core partner in supporting the program, organizing and structuring trainings for the members of the WLCC. This will include mentorship opportunities, on-the-job training and job experience needed to prepare WLCC members for careers in climate-smart agriculture and conservation.

“Climate change is this generation’s Dust Bowl, presenting us with new challenges to agriculture, ranching, and forestry,” said NACD President Kim LaFleur. “Preparing the next generation of conservationists to tackle issues such as soil erosion, drought, water quality and quantity, biodiversity, and habitat restoration is critical. NACD is pleased to collaborate with the USDA and NRCS to provide training support to the host sites that will be providing day-to-day mentorship, on-the-job training, and job experiences for a new generation launching careers in conservation."

The Corps Network is soliciting proposals from host sites interested in providing conservation training and mentorship opportunities to WLCC members. The request for proposals is available here. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 8, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET. The Corps Network, National Association of Conservation Districts, AmeriCorps, and USDA will hold webinars on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. ET and Feb. 20 at 11 a.m. ET to provide additional information for organizations interested in applying.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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