DAVIS, Calif., Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Carlos Suarez began his tenure today as State Conservationist for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in California. Suarez will assume leadership of the Agency's 350 employees in 55 offices across California from the state headquarters in Davis. NRCS employees work with Resource Conservation Districts and other partners to provide one-on-one conservation technical and planning assistance to thousands of farmers and ranchers on voluntarily projects that conserve and protect the natural resources on farms, ranches and private non-industrial forests. Suarez, a native of Puerto Rico, has first-hand knowledge of California's vast natural resources and resource challenges having served as Deputy State Conservationist for California from 2005-2008. Since leaving California, Suarez has been serving as the NRCS State Conservationist of Florida. Earlier career positions included diverse roles in both domestic and international locations including Indiana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, as well as Mexico and Nicaragua. Suarez will also oversee the significant conservation funding administered by the Agency through the Farm Bill conservation programs. Under the (recently extended) 2008 Farm Bill, these resources increased significantly and in 2012 they totaled approximately $154.2 million in cost share, stewardship, and easement payments in California. In recent years the top investments have been made to help California's farmers and ranchers enhance the following: air quality; irrigation efficiency; ground and surface water quality on dairies; rangeland health through fencing and brush management; fish and wildlife habitat; and forest health and fire resilience. Suarez is married with three children.