Texas’ Red River County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has an experienced set of boots on the ground thanks to an NACD technical assistance grant.
In June 2018, Red River County SWCD hired Richard Donovan (pictured), a former Farm Service Agency (FSA) field and program technician with 35 years of experience in Red River County working with farmers and ranchers.
“I enjoy it,” Donovan said. “It’s nice to get out of the house more and work with the farmers and ranchers again. I’m familiar with a lot of the county and working with the people.”
According to Donovan, his FSA work was a little different but the ability to collaborate with landowners and assist them with their program needs is similar.
With hundreds of program contracts, Donovan is able to conduct spot checks to gather information for the needed enhancements from producers so they are able to receive payments in a more timely manner, and which allows other technicians to focus on other projects.
“We’re going out to the farm and determining if they’re carrying out the practices and enhancements they planned for,” Donovan said. “We make sure they aren’t overgrazing and if they’re spraying, that the land isn’t grown up in weeds or shrubs and brush.”
Donovan also does a lot of data entry and assists with Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts including staking ponds and measuring them when they are completed, as well as getting into the field to measure fences and do tree planting under the program contract.
Red River County SWCD has an agreement with neighboring counties to pool resources in some areas, so Donovan has also assisted landowners in Lamar and Delta County SWCDs with pond and terrace work.