“Walk a Mile in My Boots” Program Reaches New Heights
DENVER - Making it official with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding tonight, the Walk a Mile in My Boots work-exchange program is now expanding to include partnerships with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The award-winning program was originally launched by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in summer 2003 and for more than two years has provided government employees and cattle producers with on-the-ground work experiences in each other’s respective professions.
“We are very excited about this new partnership and the expanded opportunities it will bring for both cattle producers and government employees,” says Stacey Katseanes, NCBA’s program representative. “Past exchanges between NCBA members and FWS employees were rewarding experiences for everyone involved, and these new partnerships mean NCBA and NACD members can now swap jobs with NRCS or FWS employees – and vice versa!”
“In years gone by, various cattle producers from across the country brought up concerns during membership meetings that local or even national government officials sometimes did not understand the true priorities and challenges for cattle producers,” explains Jim McAdams, Texas cattle producer and NCBA President. “This program is a prime opportunity for cattle producers to cultivate positive relationships with government employees through friendly work exchanges.”
Any cattle producer, NACD member, FWS employee, or NRCS employee can apply for the exchange program. The average length of an actual exchange runs anywhere from 2-10 days.
“The Walk a Mile in My Boots program increases appreciation among government employees for rural lifestyles, agricultural production and the economic pressures of agriculture through first hand experiences,” says Katseanes. “At the same time, the program enhances cattle producers’ understanding of the challenges and rewards of working together on conservation efforts.”
During the exchange, cattle ranchers can visit government offices, work on refuges, labs or even travel to national headquarters in Washington D.C. Government employees have the opportunity to visit cattle operations and get hand-on experience working the ranch.
“This program is an innovative opportunity for agricultural producers and government employees to voluntarily develop and implement effective conservation solutions that are viable alternatives to regulatory process by promoting idea exchanges among participants,” says Katseanes. “We encourage NCBA members to sign up!”
For information on the program, go to: www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/volunteers/walkamile.html.