USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the appointment of Emma Chow as the new district conservationist at the NRCS field office in Santa Maria.

Chow has family roots on the Central Coast, and her grandparents grew strawberries in southern San Luis Obispo County. She is a graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental management.

Chow started working for NRCS in 2009 and has a range of experience with vineyards, orchards, forest, and diverse crops from her time working in NRCS offices up and down California’s coast in Mendocino, Sonoma, Marin, Napa, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties.

Chow is also familiar with disaster response, having most recently served as the district conservationist in Napa, where she assisted with post-fire recovery in both Napa and Sonoma counties following the 2017 wine country fires.

“I have the benefit of serving as a planner in the Santa Maria office about four years ago, and I’m looking forward to building relationships with new and old partners to increase positive impact for local producers and local resources,” she said.

“It feels like coming home. I’m truly lucky to be able to serve Santa Barbara County farmers and ranchers.”

Popular conservation practices in Santa Barbara County include improvements to irrigation systems, irrigation management, nutrient management, cover crops, and installing fences, watering facilities, and livestock pipelines.

NRCS is a federal agency that works in partnership with resource conservation districts. NRCS provides products and services that enable people to be good stewards of the nation’s soil, water, and related natural resources on non-federal lands.

For more about NRCS’ products and services, visit

— David Sanden for USDA.