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Conservation Planning - Investing in Our Future

Conservation Planning—Investing in Our Future

The Agency

Since 1935, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help private landowners conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources.

Conservation planning began in the early 1940s.Hugh Hammond Bennett

Hugh Hammond Bennett –“Father of Soil Conservation”

  • Considers the needs and capabilities of each acre
  • Considers the farmer’s abilities, machinery, and economic situation
  • Incorporates the farmer’s willingness to try new practices
  • Considers the land’s relationship to the entire farm, ranch, or watershed
  • Ensures the conservationist’s presence on the land

The Mission

NRCS strives to reach its mission of “Helping People Help the Land” through its employees who provide technical assistance based on sound science suited to a customer's specific needs.

NRCS provides many services; however, the foundation of the Agency is the free technical assistance offered to develop conservation plans and resource management systems.

Conservation Planning

NRCS conservationist reviewing a conservation plan with a producerConservation planning is a process from which plans are developed by first understanding the resource needs and a landowner’s desired land use goals. Based on sound scientific practices, NRCS provides hands-on assistance to help the landowner achieve as many of their goals as possible.

  • Dynamic three-phase, nine-step process
  • Natural resources problem solving
  • Landowner and resource-driven
  • Process which considers:
    • Physical
    • Environmental
    • Economic
    • Social
    • Management
Conservation Planning Process
  • Phase I—Collection and Analysis
    • Identify problems and opportunities
    • Determine objectives
    • Inventory resources
    • Analyze resource data
  • Phase II—Decision Support
    • Formulate alternatives
    • Evaluate alternatives
    • Makes decisions
  • Phase III—Application and Evaluation
    • Implement the plan
    • Evaluate the plan

Resource Concerns

An unexpected degradation of the soil, water, air, plant, or animal resource base to an extent of the sustainability or intended use of the resource is impaired.

water erosion
wind erosion Range land - plant health and vigor

NRCS Conservation Practices

  • Address Kansas-specific resource concerns
  • Provide guidance for applying conservation technology on the land
  • Protect and maintains the natural resources on the land
Upland Wildlife Habitat

Provides and manages upland habitats and connectivity within the landscape for wildlife.

prairie-chicken
Prescribed Grazing

Maximizes production and improves grazing lands; includes grazing rotations, fencing, forage plantings, livestock water, and management of herd size.

prescribed grazing
Terraces

Reduces soil erosion and improves water quality.

terraces
Livestock Waste Storage

Prevents nutrient-laden runoff (from feedlots or hard surfaces) and protects water quality.

livestock operation
Seasonal High Tunnel System

Extends the growing season for cover crops in an environmentally safe manner.

seasonal high tunnel
Livestock Watering Facility

Provides suitable water to livestock or wildlife at selected locations to improve grazing management and protects streams, ponds, and water supplies.

livestock watering facility
Forest/Timber Stand Improvement

Improves the quality and quantity of forest stock and maintains ground cover for soil and water conservation.

tree line

NRCS Conservation Plans

  • Provide a guide to reach landuse and natural resource goals
  • Developed using state-of-the-art technology by conservation experts
  • Give landowners priority status if they apply for financial assistance programs

Summary

Your local NRCS office has experienced conservationists that can help develop a conservation plan on your farm.

The above information is also available for download (requires Acrobat Reader).

Conservation Planning - Investing in Our Future (PDF; 1.6 MB)