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NRCS offers help on conservation to landowners

A conservation plan is a tool designed to help you better manage the natural resources on your farm.  A USDA Natural resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservationist will meet with you to evaluate the soil, water, air, plant and animal resources on your property and offer several alternatives to address the resource conditions.  The alternatives you decide to use are recorded in your conservation plan, which includes a schedule for installation.  Implementing the conservation plan will help you project the environment on and off your farm.

A conservation plan includes:

  • An aerial photo or diagram of your fields
  • A list of your management decisions
  • The location of and schedule for applying new conservation practices
  • A soil map and soil descriptions
  • Information sheets explaining how to carry out specific management decisions.
  • A plan for operation and maintenance of practices, if needed

Landowners benefit in numerous ways by implementing conservation plan, including:

  • Protecting your soil and your farm’s productivity
  • Improving quality of the water in your area
  • Improving your soil’s fertility and managing soil moisture
  • Attracting desirable wildlife by creating nesting sites and winter cover
  • Protecting the productive value of your land for future generations

Also, you may be eligible for USDA farm programs.

Plan costs

It costs nothing to get your conservation plan.  This service is provided by the USDA NRCS in cooperation with your local Soil Conservation District.

Some conservation practices, such as changing your crop rotation, strip-cropping and contour farming, may only require a change in the way you operate your farm.  Other practices, such as grassed waterways and terraces, may require additional investment.  Part of the cost of these practices may be shared through federal, state and local cost-sharing programs.

Other practices, such as conservation tillage, may require different tillage or planting equipment.  In some cases, you may be able to adapt your existing equipment for conservation tillage.

Maintaining, updating your conservation plan

After the conservation plan is complete, you will receive a copy.  Another confidential copy will remain on file at your local NRCS office.  Changes in markets, weather or technology may cause you to reconsider some choices.  If so, you need to revise your plan.  Contact your local NRCS office to discuss any changes you propose.

For additional information regarding NRCS programs, visit the Minnesota NRCS website: