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ORANGE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT SUPERVISOR

The non-paid board of supervisors meets monthly to establish local soil and water conservation priorities based on the needs of the district. The Board chairs work groups to address these priorities through the installation and implementation of best management practices that protect and improve the natural resources within the district. The work is accomplished by partnering with local, state and federal agencies; businesses; and non-profit organizations for technical and financial assistance. . The Division of Soil and Water Conservation administers ACSP, AgWRAP and CCAP, and holds each local board of supervisors accountable to these state programs. Each district is governed by a five-member board of supervisors. Three supervisors are elected on the general ballot as non-partisan candidates during the regular election of county officers, and two are appointed by the NC Soil and Water Conservation Commission upon recommendation of the local district board of supervisors.

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    Gail M. Hughes

Biographical Information

What do you see as the job of the Soil & Water Supervisors? (700 characters max)

What experience do you bring that makes (will make) you an effective Soil & Water Supervisor? (700 characters max)

What are the most pressing needs facing the District right now and how do you propose to address them? (700 characters max)

What is the most effective service/program the District provides currently for your county? (700 characters max)

email address gailhughes53@gmail.com
Position/philosophy statement To protect our natural resources through education and conservation programs, benefiting both rural and urban lands in the County.
A Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor's responsibility is to assist the local Soil and Water Conservation office and staff with promoting sustainable standards of conservation, management, restoration, and protection for local soil, water and other natural resources. The Supervisor's role is to review local, state and federal programs; establish local guidance and policy for funding programs that will financially assist landowners install best management practices on their property that will protect the natural resources. The Supervisor is also responsible for promoting educational programs that help all citizens understand the importance of conservation and natural resource protection.
I grew up in northern Orange County on a farm, and it remains an active farm today. From an early age, I learned the importance of taking care of the land, to provide for our family. I attended NC State and have a BS degree in Soil Conservation and a BS degree in Agricultural Education. After college I began my career working for the Orange Soil and Water Conservation District for 37.5 years until I retired in Jan. 2020. My career included working with landowners in the County to plan and install best management conservation practices that protect and conserve natural resources therefore, protecting water quality and improve soil health conditions, which helps all citizens.
The most pressing needs are to continue to provide education, guidance, and financial assistance (if needed) for agricultural landowners to protect natural resources through local, state, and federal programs. It is critical that farmers (and farmland) remain an economically viable part of Orange County's landscape. The agricultural lands will help protect natural resources and will provide local, high quality food for local markets. Orange County citizens need to understand the importance of protecting the natural resources, and how local farms play a key role in local food markets. With my background, I feel I can help promote all of these important issues.
The District currently offers landowners (both urban and rural) free guidance and assistance on issues concerning water quality, soil erosion, improving soil health, storm water run off, and education programming for all ages. The District also offers guidance and possible funding through state and federal cost-share assistance programs that will help the landowner install conservation practices that make improvements on their property.