801 E 5th Street – Suite 2, Canton, SD 57013 | Office Phone: 605-987-2624 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week, the National Conservation Partnership held discussions and agreed to send a joint message on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Beginning Monday, March 23, USDA service centers will be instituting locked door policies, with no public access to USDA offices. One employee per agency will be permitted in the office (one conservation district employee, one NRCS employee, one FSA employee, etc.) on a rotating schedule. High-risk employees will not be subject to rotation during this full telework plan.
Many state open meeting rules have temporarily changed to accommodate teleconference or video conferencing, with signatures only occurring when necessary outside of the service center facility.
Field work where necessary may continue to occur, but with only one employee per vehicle, with social distancing between them and their cooperator strictly observed. There is work to be done, and our field work will continue, but we must adapt to support getting this work done with limited personal contact. It is of the utmost importance that we all do our part to limit the exposure and spread of COVID-19.
This situation is rapidly evolving. USDA anticipates program deadlines will likely be extended, but the agency intends to make payments to our nation’s producers and landowners on time. USDA will be making another assessment about this full telework policy on April 3, but changes to plans may occur between now and then. Visit USDA’s COVID-19 website for national updates.
The Lincoln Conservation District office is open to phone calls only. Please contact Brett Behnke at 605-838-9943. To contact the NRCS, call 605-987-4332.
Although the exact effect on conservation in the next few weeks is yet to be determined, we know that conservation efforts cannot come to a complete halt. We stand together to continue to work as a partnership on this important issue and provide information when appropriate. We must adapt during this unprecedented time to protect the health and safety of our employees, customers, cooperators, and communities by limiting exposure.