11-07: Conservation Districts and NRCS Office Space Resolution

WHEREAS, for more than 75 years the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS), and local government Conservation Districts have worked as partners to conserve and protect the soils, water, and air of the United States;

WHEREAS, this partnership includes joint offices located in most counties in the USA, where oftentimes several natural resource and agriculture-related entities are housed to deliver services to local people;

WHEREAS, for more than seven decades the citizens of the US and the taxpayers of the US, through these local offices, have been provided with benefits that included one stop shopping, program development, local cooperation, improved communication, sharing of resources, public access, telephone coverage, and other benefits of a local office setting;

WHEREAS, in the big picture of how this all works and benefits America, farmers and ranchers have used this working relationship to better conserve natural resources and provide food and fiber to both Americans and citizens of other countries;

WHEREAS, the federal government has contributed to the success of local Conservation Districts by providing office space for Districts without financial compensation;

WHEREAS, local Conservation Districts have provided in-kind, non-cash contributions to the success of the local office, by providing information and guidance about federal programs, answering telephones, greeting customers, and other general office management tasks and concerns;  

WHEREAS, it appears that there is no authority in the federal laws to allow the sharing of office space in the historic fiscal relationship that has succeeded for more than seven decades serving America;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) formally requests that the National Association of Conservation Districts seek a legislative solution that would:

  1. List the benefits of a joint office arrangement;
  2. Seek Congressional approval to enable through statute the sharing of office space between NRCS and Conservation Districts; and
  3. Formalize and regularize the existing, historically mutually beneficial, financial arrangement.