Dickson is USDA conservationist in LaPorte County


Randy Dickson is the new USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) district conservationist in LaPorte County.

Prior to coming to LaPorte County, Dickson worked for Purdue University’s Cooperative Extension Service as an Extension Educator for 4-H and Youth Development from 1997 to 2010. He has been with NRCS since 2011, first as a Resource Conservation and Development coordinator for Arrowhead Country RC&D, then as a soil conservationist on the Rensselaer Conservation Delivery Team, where he spent a significant amount of his time working in LaPorte County and surrounding areas working one-on-one with farmers and other landowners developing and carrying out conservation plans.

Dickson grew up on a farm in Starke County. He attended Purdue University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife science and Master of Science degree in wildlife ecology, both from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. A portion of his graduate research on the cottontail rabbit was conducted at Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area near LaPorte.  

For a little over a year, Dickson has served as acting district conservationist in LaPorte County. With all the time spent in the county, he has come to appreciate the diversity of land and natural resources, and looks forward to getting to know and work with landowners and operators of all kinds. 

“Like most of Indiana, LaPorte County has significant pressure from invasive plant species, especially in forest and wetland habitats,” said Dickson. “While I will still focus on production agriculture and resource concerns like soil erosion, irrigation efficiency, and water quality, I hope to bring my knowledge of natural communities and NRCS Farm Bill Program resources to bear against invasive plant species.” 

Dickson and his wife are proud parents to two children. In 2013, they purchased what Randy refers to as “a worn-out piece of ground with a worn-out house and worn-out buildings” that they work on as time and money allow. The property does include native wetlands and hardwoods that support Dickson’s hobby as an avid outdoorsman and archer. 

Dickson was a member of Purdue’s University Archery Team and participated in the 1992 Olympic Archery Trials in Tempe, Arizona. He continues to shoot approximately 250 days a year, though no longer competitively. In his spare time, Dickson enjoys serving as a trustee on his church board and reading classic literature. 

“I’m very excited to officially take over as the district conservationist in LaPorte County,” he said. “Feel free to stop in the LaPorte USDA office to introduce yourself.”

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