The Local Working Group (LWG) is a diverse group of people with agricultural and natural resource interests. Members may be agricultural producers representing the variety of crops and livestock raised within the local area; owners of nonindustrial private forest land; representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations; and representatives of governmental agencies carrying out agricultural and natural resource conservation programs and activities for the area.
To ensure that LWG recommendations take into account the broad scope of people served by USDA, members will include historically underserved groups, such as women and minorities; persons with disabilities; beginning and limited resource farmers, and socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Individuals or groups wanting to become a LWG member may submit a request to the Designated Conservationist explaining their interest and credentials for becoming a member.
Individuals attending LWG meetings will be given the opportunity to address the Group. Opportunity to address non-agenda items will be provided if time allows at the end of the meeting. Presenters are encouraged to provide written records of their comments to the Chairperson at the time of the presentation, but are not required to do so. Written comments may be accepted if provided to the Chairperson no later than 14 calendar days after a meeting.
Local Working Groups will provide recommendations on local natural resource priorities and criteria for conservation activities and programs. Recommendations may include, but are not limited to:
- Priority natural resource concerns in the local community.
- Techniques for outreach to historically underserved citizens.
- Criteria to be used in ranking program applications.
Where and When
The Local Working Group should meet at least once each year at a time and place designated by the Chairperson, unless otherwise agreed to by the members of the Local Working Group. Other meetings may be held at the discretion of the Chairperson. Meetings will be called by the Chairperson whenever it is determined that there is business that should be brought before the Local Working Group.
Local Working Group meetings are open to the public. Public notice of Local Working Group meetings should be provided at least 14 calendar days prior to the meeting. Notification will need to exceed the 14 calendar-day minimum where State open meeting laws exist and require a longer notification period. The minimum 14 calendar-day notice requirement may be waived in the case of exceptional conditions, as determined by the Chairperson or NRCS District Conservationist (or Designated Conservationist). The public notice of Local Working Group meetings will include the time, place, and agenda items for the meeting.
Agendas and information will be provided to the Local Working Group members at least 14 calendar days prior to the scheduled meeting.
The meetings will be conducted as an open discussion among members. Discussion will focus on identifying local natural resource concerns that can be treated using NRCS programs and activities. All recommendations will be considered. Local Working Group recommendations are to be submitted to the Designated Conservationist, as appropriate, within 14 calendar days after a meeting. Summaries for all Local Working Group meetings will be available within 30 calendar days of the meeting and will be filed at the appropriate local NRCS office.