WASHINGTON — At the beginning of July, the Natural Resources Conservation Service began a summer-long road trip to showcase agriculture in different states throughout the U.S.

“When we were looking at this summer’s editorial content, we decided it would be great to highlight all the great work that is being done by our farmers and ranchers across the nation,” said NRCS Public Affairs Officer Chad Douglas. “So what better way to do that than to take a virtual tour of our rural America and highlight those conservation efforts?”

Douglas explained that the department reached out to Natural Resources Conservation Service public affairs offices in each state to provide agricultural highlights that the team could then populate on their conservation road trip map. He said the response was so positive from NRCS employees and producers alike that the trip will continue past this month on into August.

“We work so closely with folks on the ground and farmers and ranchers,” Douglas said. “We’re out on their farms and are well aware of the activities taking place, since we work hand-in-hand with them to improve the resources on the ground. So we put together products to highlight the success stories. We try to tell their stories through this series and show how effective the conservation work that they’re doing helps improve their land, helps improve their production and the resiliency of their operation.”

Each week the team will feature a new state and a new story to educate American’s on various agriculture-related topics. NRCS’s first stop was Maryland where the crew highlighted farmers and individuals working together to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. The second stop was West Virginia, showcasing two retired veterans who moved from the city to the country to follow their farming passion. This week the group is visiting a producer in Illinois who grows local, organic fruits and vegetables for his community.

“It’s unlikely that it will cover every single state, but we are trying to showcase a myriad of activities and a variety of producers so that each week brings something new,” Douglas said.

To tour the country alongside NRCS, Douglas said to visit their website at www.nrcs.usda.gov or follow their StoryMap online through ESRI.