Helping People Help the Land
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State Conservationist’s Report
NEW NRCS CHIEF
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently appointed Matthew J. “Matt” Lohr to serve as Chief of the
NRCS. According to Perdue, Matt has committed his entire life to the betterment of agriculture,” Perdue said.
“The knowledge and experience he brings to the table will help ensure our locally-led, science-based approach
continues to offer farmers the conservation solutions needed to enhance their environment and commercial
Lohr is a 5
generation farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He and his wife Beth and their six children operate
Valley Pike Farm, Inc. Prior to his appointment by the Trump Administration, Lohr held public office, serving in the
Virginia House of Delegates from 2006-2010. In 2008, Lohr was awarded Legislator of the Year in honor of his work
as an ambassador for economic and community development in Virginia. He then served as Virginia’s
Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services from 2010 to 2013. More recently, Lohr worked as
Knowledge Center Director for Farm Credit of the Virginias, a customer-owned financial cooperative that provides
resources and education outreach to local farmers and the community. And since June 2017, he has been farming
full time on the family operation, which includes poultry, beef cattle, row crops, and sweet corn.
“I am honored and humbled to serve America’s agricultural industry in this new capacity,” Lohr said. “As a 5th
generation farmer, I care deeply about conserving and protecting our most valuable agricultural resources. I look
forward to the chance to lead this valuable agency and assist our producers nationwide with their conservation
practices.” Lohr’s family has installed many conservation practices on his property and two placed permanent
The 2018 farm bill or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is United States legislation that reauthorized many
expenditures in the prior United States farm bill: the Agricultural Act of 2014
. The $867 billion reconciled farm bill
was passed by the Senate on December 11, 2018, and by the House on December 12. On December 20th, 2018 it
received the President's signature and became law. It is currently under review at national headquarters for policy
During a government shutdown, agencies that receive mandatory funding or have funds appropriated in prior
years that are carried forward can continue to serve customers using that money. NRCS is in this category and will
be remain open for business. Key points:
• All contract work should continue. Contact the designated Contract Officer or the Acquisitions Division
Director in the FPAC Business Center if there is an issue with a contract.
• Conservation partners who share field office space and are not on furlough can continue working.
• If a Market Facilitation Program (MFP) application package is submitted, the NRCS staff can accept the
application, date stamp, and hold until the FSA staff returns to the office. If they are attempting to file an
application rather than bringing a package in, the customer should be directed to farmers.gov. On this site,
if they have level 2 eAuthentication, an application can be filed online. In the absence of internet access or
level 2 eAuthentication, inform the customer that due to the lapse in government funding all FSA offices
are closed until further notice and we apologize for any inconvenience.