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California Rancher Receives Excellence in Conservation Award
Friday June 25, 6:17 pm ET

WASHINGTON, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today presented its 2004 Excellence in Conservation Award to Michael J. Byrne, a California rancher. He was recognized during the NRCS Honors Awards ceremony at the USDA complex in Washington, D.C.


"This year's Excellence in Conservation Award winner epitomizes the best in efforts to conserve, maintain and improve the environment and its natural resources on America's private working lands," said NRCS Chief Bruce Knight.

Chuck Bell, California NRCS State Conservationist, says, "Byrne, a rancher from Tulelake, CA, has been at the forefront of pushing better collaboration between agencies and landowners. He was instrumental in securing special funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for water conservation in the Klamath Basin. His leadership and influence have contributed significantly to the outstanding participation rate in basin area conservation programs."

As a key spokesperson for conservation-minded farmers and ranchers, Byrne spoke with local and national news media, legislative representatives and government officials to help resolve water and endangered species issues in the Klamath Basin.

Adds Bell, "Mike brought the Lava Beds/Butte Valley Resource Conservation District to a leadership role in upper basin communities. The district is now a critical part of a coalition of Klamath Basin districts working with NRCS and other partners toward long-range solutions for the problems facing the entire basin."

Byrne has also served in leadership roles in the California Cattlemen's Association, California Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and numerous local organizations.

NRCS initiated the Excellence in Conservation Award to recognize the voluntary contributions of nongovernmental individuals and groups, which include any nongovernmental individual, groups, tribes or organizations, to the conservation effort in such areas as technical assistance and other types of program delivery, technology transfer, outreach or communication.





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