South Dakota Pheasants Forever Recognized USDA Employee as Conservationist of the Year

Natalie Sattler, PF Conservationist of the Year 2015By:  Cassie Bable, Public Affairs Specialist – USDA Farm Service Agency

Meet Natalie Sattler, FSA Program Technician, Brown County, South Dakota

For three decades, landowners across the U.S. have committed to being good stewards of the land by protecting natural resources through participation in USDA conservation programs. While successful implementation of conservation programs relies heavily on landowners and producers, it also takes hard work and dedication from USDA employees.

Many conservation programs operate on a continuous basis, which requires employees to maintain the program year-round.

An FSA employee’s hard work and commitment to conservation initiatives and to the producers of Brown County, South Dakota has not gone unnoticed.

The Northern South Dakota Pheasants Forever Chapter 77 selected Natalie Sattler, Brown County FSA Program Technician, as the recipient of its prestigious “Conservationist of the Year” award.

Each year, the Board of Directors for the chapter nominates producers, landowners and other individuals who contributed significantly to improving wildlife habitat and who implement sound conservation practices in Brown County.

“Natalie has worked with every landowner who has ground enrolled in conservation programs in Brown County,” said Emmett Lenihan, a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist. “That is her job, but she goes the extra mile to ensure that the producers are taken care of during peak sign-up periods, which usually includes putting in long hours at the office.”

FSA administers the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a voluntary program that protects environmentally sensitive land. In return for not farming the land, landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance for planting long-term, resource-conserving cover crops that reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. CRP and the farmers who participate in the program have protected our nation’s natural resources since The Food Security Act was signed in 1985.

Sattler has assisted producers and landowners in Brown County with CRP enrollment for 15 years. Her knowledge and experience is invaluable to landowners who are new to the program or who are looking to expand their conservation practices.

“The conservation program in Brown County is successful because of dedicated employees like Natalie,” said Craig Schaunaman, South Dakota FSA Executive Director. “Brown County is considered one of the premier hunting spots in the state and leads South Dakota in the number of active contracts and enrolled acres – having more than 1,300 Conservation Reserve Program contracts on more than 65,000 acres.”

In order to promote federal conservation programs among members of groups with similar interests, FSA partners with organizations like Pheasants Forever. Pheasants Forever is a nonprofit conservation group that focuses on protecting natural resources to improve habitats for pheasants, quail and other wildlife. Members of the organization include farmers, ranchers, landowners, conservation enthusiasts, wildlife officials and hunters.

Sattler will be honored by Pheasants Forever and recognized by her community at the 2015 Northern South Dakota Chapter 77 spring banquet in Aberdeen on Tuesday, May 5.

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