When landowners have resource problems, they turn to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and our conservation partners. And when NRCS has challenges, we often turn to our Earth Team volunteers for help. Our more than 30,000 volunteers assist us with conservation planning and technical consultation, outreach and communications, clerical services and hundreds of other tasks.
This is National Volunteer Week and it is the perfect time to recognize our Earth Team volunteers. They do a lot for this agency and our national landscape: They work shoulder-to-shoulder with our conservationists, partners and technicians. They make us a more productive and effective agency and they help create a climate where private lands conservation can continue to succeed.
Earth Team is now over a quarter-century old. During that time over a half-million people have become Earth Team volunteers and they’ve donated nearly 15 million hours of time. Nationally, in Fiscal Year 2010, Earth Team volunteers provided over 641,000 hours of work to NRCS, valued at $14 million.
Simply put, Earth Team makes it possible for us to help many Americans save soil, provide clean water and air, and improve wildlife habitat.
NRCS has a tough job and it’s about to get more challenging. The United Nations is projecting a 2.3 billion increase in the world’s population by 2050, and they’re also estimating the need for a 70 percent increase in food production to feed all of these people. It’s a huge challenge for America’s farmers and ranchers—one that NRCS and our Earth Team can help producers meet while still protecting the environment.
At NRCS, we appreciate our Earth Team volunteers. We salute their service to conservation and the way they help us better serve our customers, the environment and our nation.
Thank you, Earth Team! National Volunteer Week is your week.
Learn more about Earth Team.
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Check out other conservation stories on the USDA blog.