ELLSWORTH — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently opened a new office in Ellsworth, providing a better opportunity for the federal agency to serve landowners in Hancock County in addressing natural resource concerns.
Since 2011, the NRCS field office for Hancock County has been in Bangor, but it has now moved to a standalone building west of downtown Ellsworth at 474 Bucksport Road (U.S. Highway 1).
According to NRCS Acting State Conservationist Obediah Racicot, this move will make it more convenient for local farmers, foresters and landowners to receive technical and financial assistance from the USDA and NRCS.
“Our mission with NRCS is simple: we provide leadership and expertise in the use and stewardship of Maine’s natural resources,” Racicot explained. “The soil, water, and even air, are precious elements of our environment here. By working with partner agencies and individuals in Hancock County we can ensure those resources will be available for future generations.”
Racicot encourages Hancock County residents to stop by the new office, meet the staff and find out if they are eligible for practices — from constructing high tunnels to developing a forest management plan — from NRCS.
The new office is staffed by District Conservationist Chris Phinney and Soil Conservationist Megan Facciolo, who work closely with members of the Hancock County Soil and Water Conservation District to address resource concerns in the county.
“We are excited to reconnect with producers here and better assist them in accomplishing their conservation objectives,” Phinney said.
He noted that the first step is to meet with his staff for a free resource assessment and determine what voluntary assistance programs may be available to a landowner.
“NRCS is a voluntary federal agency that is truly here to help the people of Hancock County and Downeast Maine,” Phinney added. “There are more than 400 farms in Hancock County, and by working closely with those farmers — as well as foresters and landowners — we may be able to help them boost agricultural productivity and at the same time protect their natural resources.
“Our new USDA sign is quite visible on U.S. 1 as you head west from Ellsworth. Stop in, meet us and ask some questions.”
For more information visit the NRCS website at www.me.nrcs.usda.gov or call the Ellsworth Field Office at 573-5444.