Taylor helps landowners, staff with conservation
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 03/29/2012 10:08 AM
ROCHESTER, Minn. — For Kasey Taylor, her grandfather is the father of conservation.
He's the man who made sure his grandchildren were exposed to the family farm in Alabama and learned his love of the land. He offered heartfelt congratulations when she called to tell him she was a student trainee with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kansas and later, acting conservationist in Colorado. The agency always treated people right, he told her, and advised her to continue that tradition. He reminded her that she worked for the landowers.
Taylor has carried her grandfather's advice with her as she's moved through the ranks of the NRCS.
After her first summer as a soil conservationist trainee in Kansas, where she was fortunate to be mentored by others who continually asked her why, Taylor worked in Arkansas. Her first job as a distrist conservationists was in Batesville, Ark. She later worked a district conservationist in Osceola and Helena, Ark., and St. Peter, Minn., before becoming the assistant state conservationist for field operations in Minnesota's Area 6. She has left Minnesota to serve 60-day details as acting state conservationist in Kansas and Colorado.
Minnesota'a Area 6 includes 14 counties in southeast and south central Minnesota. Taylor supervises 50 employees in the area office and in the counties of Goodhue, Olmsted, Rice, Winona, Steele, Houston, Dodge, Fillmore, Mower, Freeborn, Faribault, Waseca, Blue Earth and Wabasha.
She has an exceptional team to work with, Taylor said.
"It would be very hard to do what I do without an exceptional staff," she said.
Her role is to help the field staff be successful, Taylor said, which she learned from a mentor. If she isn't helping her staff succeed, she is hindering their progress.
Her staff members now are busy preparing for the second ranking period of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for this fiscal year. Applications will be ranked and scored by March 23. May 25 is the last day to apply for funding in the third ranking period for this year. Applications for the third ranking period will be scored by June 1.
Traditionally, there haven't been EQIP ranking periods beyond March, Taylor said. This year, landowners have more opportunity for their projects to be funded.
The Conservation Stewardship Program will be ranked by March 30, she said, and the NRCS will be working with the Farm Service Agency on the general Conservation Reserve Program signup that began March 12 and continues through April 6. Continuous CRP signup is ongoing.
The Mississippi River Basin Initiative funding will coincide with EQIP funding and they are waiting for funding for the Driftless Initiative.
The Reinvest in Minnesota-Wetland Reserve Program ranking period deadline is April 1.
"It's really a good year for conservation, we still have funding," Taylor said.