Last week, the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a 21st century upgrade to a system that’s been stuck in the analog world. The Conservation Client Gateway is a new website that lets farmers and ranchers apply for programs under things like the Farm Bill. Before, a farmer would have to drive to their nearest USDA office – which, in rural Idaho – could be a time and fuel-consuming task.
Dee Carlson is with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Boise, the agency that handles these requests in individual counties. She says by providing an online way to access things like drought relief and soil consultation, the website makes things simpler for busy farmers and ranchers.
“This . . . is an opportunity for them to do some of those activities on a web application," says Carlson, "and save time and energy and fuel.”
Carlson says the NRCS has tested the website to make sure it’s an intuitive system for farmers and ranchers. But Carlson says she wouldn’t be surprised if the people who use it the most are from the digital generation.
“Probably our younger producers are more technically savvy, and they may be the first users of this product but I think it’s put together as a very intuitive type of program or application and I think anyone can use it.”
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