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Natural Resources Conservation Service chief retires

Dave White, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, announced his retirement effective Dec. 3. Jason Weller has been named the acting NRCS chief.

White was a career conservationist with NRCS. He has provided technical and management expertise in Missouri, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Montana, where he served as state conservationist from 2002 to 2008. White also served in the Senate Agriculture Committee where he helped craft the Conservation Title for both the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. He also served on the White House Task Force for Livable Communities during the Clinton Administration.

During his four years as NRCS chief, White developed and implemented forward-looking ideas to advance private lands conservation, including more than a dozen landscape conservation initiatives such as the Sage-Grouse and Migratory Bird Habitat Initiatives.

Jason Weller, acting NRCS chief beginning Dec. 3, has been involved in every major NRCS policy decision since 2009 when he was appointed NRCS chief of staff. Dedicated to advancing the cause of voluntary, incentive-based private lands conservation, Weller has focused on coordinating and streamlining NRCS's programs, structure, and operations to improve conservation assistance to the Nation's farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners.

Prior to joining NRCS, Weller worked as a staff member for the Senate Agriculture Committee; the House Budget Committee, where he helped to construct the annual congressional budget for agriculture, environment, and energy programs; and the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. He worked for five years with the White House Office of Management and Budget where he assisted with the development and implementation of the USDA conservation programs budget.

Weller is a native of northern California and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and a graduate degree in public policy from the University of Michigan. Prior to Washington, D.C., he worked for several years with the California State Legislature where he provided fiscal and policy recommendations on a variety of natural resource conservation and environmental protection issues.

Originally established as the Soil Conservation Service in 1935, NRCS has expanded to become the nation's leader for conservation on private lands. With 12,000 employees nationwide, NRCS partners with landowners to provide conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife and ensure private lands are more resilient to environmental challenges, like climate change.

For more information, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.

Date: 12/03/2012



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