Dave White will retire as the chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service next week. His final visit outside of Washington, D.C. was to Indianapolis a few days ago, to speak to a large crowd gathered at the annual meeting of the Hoosier Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Jane Hardisty, head of the Indiana Department of NRCS, praised him for choosing Indiana as his final outside visit. She doesn't believe it was an accident. Chief White has been impressed with Indiana's efforts to emphasize soil health in its soil conservation programs. Hardisty herself is still on temporary assignment to NRCS in Washington, D.C., but intends to return home to Indiana early next year.
Indiana has one of the best soil and water conservation partnerships amongst various groups and agencies in the country," he says. "You guys are leaders nationwide in getting back to the basics in soil conservation. You show that you understand the soil and the value of it.
"NRCS has never been stronger. Conservation on private lands in this country is at the heart of the soil conservation effort. We have been building over things that are happening here."
Just recently NRCS, under White's leadership, announced a new campaign to emphasize soil health in the soil and water conservation effort nationwide. It's called "Unlocking the Secrets of the Soil," and is a national campaign.
White himself will not be through with soil conservation when he leaves office next week. He intends to continue to remain active in soil and water conservation projects around the country, likely serving as a consultant.
An interim chief has been named to follow White, and he is also a strong soil conservationist, sources say. Every indication is that a permanent successor will be named for White in 2013 at the national level.