The Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service has plans to close nine county field offices, state conservationist Harold Klaege announced Tuesday.
These county field offices will be consolidated with neighboring county field offices "to more efficiently and effectively manage operations while meeting a declining budget," according to a Kansas NRCS news release.
The following are the NRCS field office consolidations.
- Chase County (Cottonwood Falls) will be consolidated with Lyon County (Emporia).
- Comanche County (Coldwater) will be consolidated with Barber County (Medicine Lodge).
- Geary County (Junction City) will be consolidated with Riley County (Manhattan).
- Gove County (Gove) will be consolidated with Logan County (Oakley).
- Johnson County (Olathe) will be consolidated with Miami County (Paola).
- Leavenworth County (Leavenworth) will be consolidated with Jefferson County (Oskaloosa).
- Morton County (Elkhart) will be consolidated with Stevens County (Hugoton).
- Wabaunsee County (Alma) will be consolidated with Pottawatomie County (Westmoreland) and will be relocated to Wamego along with the Farm Service Agency office.
- Woodson County (Yates Center) will be consolidated with Wilson County (Fredonia).
Before consolidation can take place, the National Food and Agriculture Council must approve the proposal. Following its approval, no county FOs could be closed for 120 days, so the earliest consolidation would take place is Oct. 1, 2007, Klaege says.
In July 2006, Klaege announced to the NRCS employees and county conservation district boards affected by the consolidation, and then the public, that a proposal for county field office consolidations had been developed because of forthcoming budget constraints.
Even though NRCS offices will consolidate, the county conservation districts in counties where NRCS is closing a county field office have indicated they are committed to maintaining a conservation office, according to Klaege. Through a partnership effort, NRCS employees will make regular visits to these district offices to provide technical assistance to producers as well as to the local conservation district.