Since the organization of local conservation districts in the 1930s, people have volunteered their time and talent to assist the NRCS in getting conservation on the land. Through the decades, volunteering has remained an important part of America’s conservation movement. Expanding the volunteer concept, congress passed legislation in 1981 that provided authority for NRCS to use volunteers.
It wasn't until 1985, when the Farm Bill increased the agency's workload, that leadership encouraged all states to begin using the National Volunteer Program to help achieve the agency's mission.
In 1985, the National Volunteer Program became the Earth Team – the volunteer arm of NRCS. The purpose of the Earth Team is to expand NRCS services by using volunteer time, talent, and energy to help meet agency needs.