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Adams wants to help people help the land

By Staff | Jun 3, 2011

Sam Adams, the district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Fort Dodge, points out the city’s location on a soil map in his office. The green area, which was created by a glacier thousands of years ago, is called the Des Moines Lobe. The state capital is at the very southern tip of the lobe.

FORT DODGE — Sam Adams probably has the answer for any local people wondering what kind of dirt is in their field, pasture or backyard.

Adams, the new district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Fort Dodge, will likely tell anyone who inquires that the dirt is from the Clarion series of soils ,which is the most common in this part of Iowa.

Identifying soils is just part of his overall mission of conserving, maintaining and improving productive lands.

”Helping people help the land is what the NRCS stands on,” Adams said.

To make that happen locally, he works to ensure that the agency’s programs are implemented efficiently and fairly in Hamilton and Webster counties.

Those programs, usually identified by their initials, make up an alphabet soup that includes EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program), CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program), WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program) and WRP (Wetland Reserve Program).

Adams and his staff also provide the technical advice for the Conservation Reserve Program, although the overall management of it is handled by the Farm Service Agency.

He works directly with local conservation districts, getting the input of their leaders.

”It is really kind of a grassroots program,” he said.

”The impact you can make in a position like this is pretty great,” he added.

Adams spends the winter months reviewing applications for assistance from the various programs the NRCS oversees. During warm weather, he plans to be out checking on various projects the agency is involved in.

The NRCS ”deals almost exclusively with private lands,” he said. Farmers are obviously the biggest user of the agency’s services, but developers can also turn to the NRCS for information about the soil in areas where they plan to build, he added.

In addition to his regular duties, in the not too distant future Adams will be presiding over the agency’s move to a new building. He said the federal government is now seeking bids for a new site.

The district conservationist post brought Adams back to the area where he was raised. He grew up in Lytton and graduated from Rockwell City-Lytton High School. Then he earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Iowa State University in Ames.

After graduating from Iowa State, he took a job as an assistant waterfowl biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He worked at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Unit, a hunting area in the northern part of the state.

Subsequently, he took a job as a farm bill biologist. He was still employed by the state of Utah, but he worked in an office with NRCS staffers.

”I enjoyed the work I did in that federal office and I decided to make the jump,” he said.

Upon joining the federal agency, Adams was assigned to South Dakota, where he worked in Aberdeen and Mitchell. He returned to Iowa to become a resource conservationist in Albia.

In February, he took his current position in Fort Dodge.

Adams and his wife, Jordan, a Gowrie native, have two sons.

The agency he works for is part of the United States Department of Agriculture. It is the modern version of the Soil Conservation Service, which took a new name after the 1996 farm law expanded its duties.

Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or bshea@messengernews.net

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