Environmental conservation efforts regarding privately owned land will be under the stewardship of a committed conservationist with more than thirty years of service in the field. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack named career conservationist Dave White Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on March 24, 2009. Originally established in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the NRCS has 12,000 employees and a budget in excess of $3 billion. Today, the primary function of the NRCS is to help administer the government’s conservation policy and practices. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to private land owners and users, who occupy 70 percent of the contiguous United States.