The Plant Materials Program, with its 27 Plant Materials Centers (PMCs), cooperates with a variety of public and private conservation partners to collect, evaluate, select and release plants which are intended for commercial production to solve resource conservation problems. This testing helps insure that the plants grow under a variety of climates and soil types and will perform as needed.
Very few NRCS plant releases have been genetically manipulated and many are now being selected to maximize genetic diversity. During testing, all NRCS plant collections are evaluated to insure that they are not weedy, invasive or harmful to the environment.
Plants offer a natural solution for addressing many conservation challenges. From wildfire restoration and invasive species control to forage production, wildlife habitat, erosion prevention, nutrient filtering, stream bank protection, and sources of biofuels, plants are a sustainable resource that help protect and heal our landscapes. To date, the Plant Materials Program has released over 600 conservation plants.