Relationships and Service Bring NRCS Conservationist State, National Honors

Taylor Hillman Conservation, USDA-NRCS

Emma Chow is the Santa Barbara County district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This is Chow’s second go-around at the Santa Maria office, coming back to the Central Coast after details in several other counties in California. Chow was recognized for her dedicated service on both the state and national level in 2019. In November, Chow received the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts’ Conservation Planner of the year award, and then followed that up by winning the National Association of Conservation Districts’ 2020 Hugh Hammond Bennett Award.

Chow said helping landowners improve conservation practices is easy when a relationship exists between the planner and the owner. Case in point with the Dewlson Family Farm in her local county. Owners Ron and Judy are very comfortable with Chow, talking, and treating her like family when she is on the farm. Because of that relationship, Dewlson Family Farm has implemented dozens of conservation practices on their farm through NRCS programs like the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).

“As you go, you can develop a relationship with producers and landowners,” Chow said, “It’s really their conservation plan and what they want to do. We are a resource to help them get there.”

About the Author

Taylor Hillman