Grover DePriest is the new NRCS Supervisory District Conservationist for Marion, McPherson, and Rice counties.
Working out of the Marion office at the USDA Service Center, he assumed the position four weeks ago, replacing Gary Schuler, who retired in November.
DePriest still was settling in Monday and expressed appreciation for the people with whom he will be working.
“I’ve stepped into a good position here,” he said. “We have some really good help.”
He was referring to technicians Doug Svitak and Dale Ehlers, grass expert Doug Spencer, and office manager Betty Richmond.
DePriest came to Marion from a conservation district at Savannah in northwest Missouri, where he served as a technician for 18 years, doing survey and design of conservation projects, before taking a supervisory role.
He and his wife, Sondra, own a 500-acre farm in Missouri in partnership with a son. He said owning a farm is a benefit.
“I feel like I can communicate with farmers because of my own experiences,” he said. “On the other hand, I’m learning from others, so it’s a two-way street.”
The couple plans to soon move to Marion. Sondra is a certified public accountant and plans to keep in touch with clients through e-mail and faxes. They have three grown children.
DePriest said he took the job in Marion because it is something different and gives him more responsibility. He oversees implementation of federal initiatives including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
He comes from an area in Missouri where no-till is popular. The area has Loess soil, a highly productive type that is used mainly for row crops.
DePriest’s goal is to see an increase in no-till farming in this area. He said no-till can work in all soil types, although it may take three to five years to become effective in heavier soils.