Natural Resources Conservation Service Welcomes New State Chief

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For farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers in DeSoto and Tate counties, the new Mississippi chief of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service vows to plant ways to bolster federal, state and local partnerships, speed disaster-related assistance and dispense science-based advice.

Of the Hernando-based local NRCS office, Kurt Readus says he "applauds the work by the great staff. And I look forward to continued success in our theme of 'Helping People, Help the Land.'"

"We're looking forward to working with him," said Scott Griffith, senior conservationist at the DeSoto-Tate office. "The state conservationist pretty much sets whatever our programs will be."

Jackson-based Readus succeeds Dr. Homer Wilkes, now the USDA director of the oil spill-related Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Readus came to Mississippi in 2007 as area conservationist of Central Mississippi, overseeing 21 field offices in addition to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Field Office. In January 2011, he was named assistant state conservationist for programs.

A graduate of Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University, Readus began with NRCS in 1998 as a student trainee, working in Arizona and Alabama. In 2000, he became soil conservationist in Avondale, Ariz., and five years later was promoted to district conservationist. …