by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
When district conservationist Mike Delano began working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Roy, there was just one contract on land to be placed in a government conservation program, he said.
That was April 1988. Three years later, there were 26 contracts, said Delano.
Each contract had a value of about $30,000 over a three- to five-year period to the landowner, he said.
That’s a total of about $780,000 that was eventually paid out to farmers and ranchers for land that was placed in U.S. Department of Agricultural conservation programs, Delano said.
Now, after 18 years with NRCS, including the past six months in the Tucumcari office, Delano is saying happy trails. Well, sort of.
As Delano said, “I’ll be continuing and working in conservation.”
What that means is that he’ll be a contracted technical service provider for NRCS and that he plans to become an independent consultant.
Getting landowners involved in the USDA’s land conversation programs has had the biggest rewards and the most challenges, Delano said.
“The biggest rewards are the long-term improvements in the land and working with the farmers and ranchers to the point that they’d appreciate what they got,” Delano said.
“The biggest challenges have been working with the government programs and getting the farmers’ and the ranchers’ trust,” Delano said.
Delano is leaving at a time when, because of technology, it’s definitely easier to do a day’s work.
It used to be that an aerial map was brought to the landowner, reviewed for water pipelines, fences, etc. and the conservation plan and then sent to cartographer, Delano said.
Nowadays, maps are just a laptop away.
“I’ve seen some changes,” he said. “I remember when we had to pull maps out of Fort Worth. Now, we just pull them up on a computer screen.”
Delano said he plans to do some traveling and keep working in his retirement years.
He’s also looking forward to a farewell gathering, which will be at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Triangle Ranch east of Mosquero.
“Anyone wanting to say adios can attend and are welcome,” Delano said.
He’s also not bashful, when he says no presents: “Just a donation for a Caribbean cruise.”