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NCAT Webinar Series: Federal Assistance for Natural Resource Conservation on Working Lands
September 24, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Webinar Series Explains Access to Federal Assistance for Natural Resource Conservation on Working Lands
Webinar Part 1: The Overview – Thursday, September 17
Webinar Part 2: The Process – Thursday, September 24
Webinar Part 3: Deep Dive – Thursday, October 8
This is a webinar series supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and its ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program.
Farmers and ranchers nationwide will have access to billions of dollars in federal assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) to maintain and begin critical conservation efforts on their farms and ranches that benefit us all. How is access to these resources determined?
In 2020 a new tool called the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) was introduced by NRCS. It uses a conservation program neutral method to assess the existing condition and planned conservation activities on a client’s operation and provides an efficient ranking tool to rank single applications into multiple applicable ranking pools for funding consideration. A three-part webinar series on CART will take place during September and October to provide interested farmers and ranchers with an overview of the tool, as well as a deeper look into how it works.
- Aaron Lauster, Conservation Planning Branch Chief, NRCS
- Eric McTaggart, Natural Resources Specialist, NRCS
- Jeff Schahczenski, Agricultural and Natural Resources Economist, NCAT
Webinar 1: Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART): Overview
- Thursday, September 17, 1:30 p.m. EDT
- Presented by: Aaron Lauster, Conservation Planning Branch Chief, NRCS
- This webinar is intended to give farmers and ranchers a basic understanding and familiarity with CART, including how CART can be used to evaluate their operations for conservation assistance and funding consideration, and how they can request an assessment.
- Register for Part 1 here: https://attra.ncat.org/cart-
Webinar 2: Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART): The Process
- Thursday, September 24, 3:00 p.m. EDT
- Presented by: Eric McTaggart, Natural Resources Specialist, NRCS, and Aaron Lauster, Conservation Planning Branch Chief, NRCS
- This webinar will walk through an example of a farmer or rancher who is interested in applying for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with NRCS. It will start with completing a CART assessment on the client’s operation and then explain how that application is considered for funding.
- Register for Part 2 here: https://attra.ncat.org/cart-
Webinar 3: Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART): Deep Dive
- Thursday, October 8, 2:00 p.m. EDT
- Presented by: Aaron Lauster, Conservation Planning Branch Chief, NRCS, and Eric McTaggart, Natural Resources Specialist, NRCS
- This webinar will build on the previous two by taking a deeper look at the science behind CART and the methodology the ranking tool uses to rank different applications across multiple ranking pools for funding consideration.
- Register for Part 3 here: https://attra.ncat.org/cart-
All three webinars will be recorded and posted online at a later date.
About the Presenters:
Aaron Lauster, Conservation Planning Branch Chief, NRCS
Aaron has worked the last two years leading the development of CART. Prior to working on CART, Aaron was the National Sustainable Agriculture Lead at NRCS
and led development of the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET). Aaron has worked with the Department of Commerce as the Senior Conservation Policy Advisor for the RESTORE Council and lead writer for the development of the Comprehensive Plan for Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy. He has provided leadership on a number of national initiatives including the Air Quality Initiative, Organic Initiative, Mississippi River Healthy Watershed Initiative, Sage Grouse Initiative, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Aaron was previously an NRCS Area Conservationist in Michigan and a District Conservationist in Indiana. He also has experience with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Astbury Environmental Consulting and Private Forestry Consulting.
Eric McTaggart, Natural Resource Specialist, NRCS
Eric McTaggart has worked for NRCS since 2002. He began his career as an intern in his home county of Iroquois County, Illinois, and began his full-time career with