Photo Credit: NRCS

A New NRCS Partnership in Montana

U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs in the Prairie Pothole Region are critical for the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture (PPJV) to achieve our shared goals and objectives identified in the 2017 Implementation Plan and our state-level step down plans. A new agreement between the PPJV and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) paves the way to strengthen this important partnership.

When Tom Watson began his job as State Conservationist for Montana NRCS two years ago, he introduced his vision for a more targeted approach to conservation using the power of the Farm Bill. From that vision, Montana NRCS developed what is now called Montana Focused Conservation. Montana Focused Conservation is a locally led, partner-centric, and targeted NRCS planning effort. Instead of funding conservation projects on a scattered, farm-by-farm approach, NRCS targets its investments in very specific areas to achieve clearly defined natural resource goals identified by local partners. The focused approach emphasizes planning with the end result in mind, harnessing the power of multiple landowners in one area undertaking similar conservation projects to achieve a regional or landscape-scale result. This effort supports the PPJV’s goal to maintain high private landowner interest in conservation progr