COLUMBUS, Ohio — The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has appointed Mark Smith as the agency’s Western Lake Erie Basin coordinator. In this position, he will work with regional partners to leverage resources to provide landowners and communities with the tools that they need to apply innovative, climate-smart solutions to improve water quality and soil health in the basin.
During his 34 years with NRCS, Smith has held numerous technical and leadership positions, and previously served as the State Resource Conservationist for Ohio.
“Mark brings several years of experience in resource management to the table,” said Lori Ziehr, Acting Ohio NRCS State Conservationist. “He has the knowledge and leadership needed to engage our federal, state and local partners to empower area producers with the tools they need to apply conservation practices that will ultimately improve Lake Erie’s water quality.”
Throughout his career, Smith has sought to collaborate with a wide field of stakeholders to implement science-based conservation strategies. The updated 590 Nutrient Management Standard is a recent example of his ability to work with commodity, conservation, non-profit and research groups to implement realistic management of agricultural nutrient application in the basin while reducing environmental impacts.
“Ultimately, my goal is to increase conservation in the Western Lake Erie Basin while ensuring that the area’s producers are able to maintain viable and sustainable operations,” Smith said. “My experience has taught me that partnerships are key in accomplishing our goals, and will continue to be critical as we work to address a resource concern that spans across state and international boundaries.”
Smith began his career with NRCS in 1984 and has served as a district conservationist, area resource conservationist and manager of programs, watersheds and easements. He received a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from The Ohio State University. He currently resides in Knox County, Ohio with his wife Irene, where they raise sheep and cattle.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
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