CNMI secures partnership with federal agencies

Commonwealth recognized at NACD conference
Posted on Sep 19 2022


From left, Tinian Cattlemen Association chair Jose M. Dela Cruz, NRCS CNMI District conservationist Pamela M. Sablan, NRCS Western Regional conservationist Astor Boozer, Senate President Hofschneider (R-Tinian), NACD president Michael Crowder; NRCS acting PIA director JB Martin, and NACD chief program officer Jen Nelligan. Virtual attendance made by JRMO Harry Elliot (DOD), CBMA special assistant Glenna Sakisat Palacios, and CNMI DLNR Secretary Anthony Benavente. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

In June of 2022, officials of the National Association of Conservation District visited the Pacific region composed of Guam, the Republic of Palau, and for the very first time, the three main islands of the CNMI.

Led by NACD president Michael Crowder, the goal of the visit was to solidify the partnership between NACD and its pacific partners.

In August of 2022, Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) received an invitation to attend the NACD Pacific-Southwest Regional Conference Imua (go forward): Building Capacity with Partnerships to carry on the new found partnership and “connect with colleagues across federal, state and territory, and local government, as well as private sector and academia” with a unified mission focused on conservation efforts.

During the conference, Jose M. Dela Cruz of Tinian was officially recognized for his innovative techniques and untiring commitment to conservation on the island of Tinian by Crowder as a Soil Health Champion of NACD for the region. As the Soil Health Champion, Dela Cruz is bestowed with the duty to share his knowledge and practice of good soil health management with farmers and ranchers across the region.

The highlight of the trip included the established partnership with DOD Major General Mark A. Hashimoto, USMCR, represented by JRMO Harry Elliot; Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, represented by CBMA special assistant Glenna Sakisat Palacios; Crowder; NACD chief program officer Jen Nelligan; NRCS acting PIA director JB Martin; NRCS Western Regional conservationist Astor Boozer; NRCS CNMI District conservationist Pamela M. Sablan; Tinian leadership, represented by Hofschneider; TCA chair Jose M. Dela Cruz; and CNMI DLNR Secretary Anthony Benavente.

For the first time in years, federal and local leaders gathered to discuss the usage of agricultural land currently located within the military leased area on Tinian. The meeting focused primarily on addressing the land use agreement and policy for the ranchers situated within the MLA.

As expressed by Hofschneider, “food security initiatives must be one of the highest priorities in the CNMI to ensure that we sustain a food supply chain of healthier, locally grown produce and locally raised and grazed meat products. Through the aggressive and unified efforts of the Tinian leadership, the Tinian Cattlemen’s Association, joined forces with our federal and state agencies, and the Department of Defense, it is my privilege to witness all our efforts being recognized on a national level. In line with our federal partners, now is the right time to embrace this opportunity and take advantage of networking across the region.”

Hofschneider further emphasized that “more importantly for our island communities, we must continue and support the practices of conservation and protection of our environment with regards to the detrimental effect of climate change and the rise in sea level. It is very critical at this juncture in our lifetime.” (PR)

Press Release
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