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Signatures on the Land

Oregon NRCS Programs and Services Help People Help the Land

This year the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is proud to celebrate 75 years helping people help the land. Initially known as the Soil Erosion Service, the agency traces its history back to 1935 when it was first established to implement soil conservation practices at the height of the dust bowl. The agency immediately set to work providing locally based, voluntary conservation assistance to private landowners and tribes. Not surprisingly, Oregon’s farmers and ranchers have been there from the beginning and were among the nation’s first working lands conservationists.

These pioneers sowed the seeds of a legacy of conservation— a legacy that continues today as made evident by the hard work and dedication of NRCS’ customers, tribes, employees and conservation partners. President Franklin Roosevelt once said “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.” NRCS understands the unique relationship between the land and the people. The nation’s very livelihood depends on the soil’s immense bounty, and it’s NRCS’s mission not only to cultivate the land’s potential, but also protect a remarkable national resource.

Over the course of the years, NRCS has provided technical and financial assistance to countless farmers and ranchers through conservation programs. In so doing, NRCS has helped protect the soil and other natural resources on which the nation depends for commerce and culture.

As populations increase, production becomes more critical—as does the parallel endeavor of conserving and protecting our natural resources. Signatures on the Land provides an at-a-glance look at just some of those conservation achievements in Oregon.

The numbers are impressive. Yet, behind every conservation plan and contract is a farmer, a family, a business, and a nation. NRCS is proud to be a part of this community, and America’s continuing legacy of conservation.

2010 CONSERVATION ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT A GLANCE

Sage-Grouse Habitat Restored: 20,600 acres
Land Restored by Improved Irrigation Efficiency: 31,370 acres
Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans Implemented: 48 plans
Wetlands Created, Enhances or Restored: 7,825 acres
Improved Cropland Health: 125,487 acres
Improved Rangeland Health: 318,359 acres
Improved Wildlife Habitat: 19,703 acres
 

2008 FARM BILL PROGRAMS

While NRCS’ technical assistance provided the resources for sound conservation planning, a portfolio of voluntary conservation programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill provided financial and technical assistance funding to farmers and ranchers to implement needed conservation measures. Following is a brief overview of some of those programs.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Through EQIP, farmers may receive financial and technical help with structural and management conservation practices on agricultural land.

EQIP Accomplishments at a Glance

Contracts: 509
Acres: 148,476
Financial assistance: $12.7 million
(includes Sage-Grouse Initiative)

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

WHIP provides financial incentives to develop habitat for fish and wildlife on private lands.

WHIP Accomplishments at a Glance

Contracts: 18
Acres: 12,602
Financial Assistance: $854,781

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

GRP provides support for grazing operations to enhance plant and animal biodiversity and protect grassland under threat of conversion to other uses.

GRP Accomplishments at a Glance

Easements: 6
Financial Assistance: $387,665

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

CSP encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.
 

CSP Accomplishments at a Glance

Contracts: 170
Acres: 481,019
Financial Assistance: $4.5 million


Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

This program is intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.

CIG Accomplishments at a Glance

Contracts Awarded: 2
Financial Assistance: $135,000

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)

WRP offers landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. Through this program, NRCS provides technical and financial support to help landowners with their wetland restoration efforts.
 

WRP Accomplishments at a Glance

Easements/ Contracts: 60
Acres: 26,684
Financial Assistance: $11.8 million

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NRCS Oregon 2010 Signatures on the Land (PDF, 926 KB)