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Conservation Planning

Blaine Evans, Eastern WashingtonTimely rain. Strong export markets. The cost of fuel. Future prices. There are some things you just can’t plan on in agriculture. Ensuring your way of life shouldn’t be one of them.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service experts can help you develop a quality conservation plan to protect the resources you count on to maintain a productive operation, and a quality way of life.

There are a lot of reasons to develop a conservation plan, but perhaps the most important reason is right beside you – your family. Developing a conservation plan is free, easy and it’s a great way to care for the resources you count on to ensure your way of life – for generations to come.

Benefits of a Conservation Plan

  • Identifies immediate or potential resource problems that could hurt your production.
  • Helps you comply with environmental regulations.
  • Helps you qualify for various USDA conservation programs.
  • Adapts to your changing farm or ranch’s operational goals.
  • Establishes a reasonable schedule for you to apply needed conservation practices.
  • Can save you time, labor and energy costs.
  • Makes your farm or ranch a nicer place to live for you and your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to a few of our most frequently asked questions about conservation planning.

Q. WHAT IS A CONSERVATION PLAN?

A. A conservation plan is a written record of your management decisions and the conservation practices and systems you plan to use and maintain on your farm. It’s your blueprint for the future of your operation’s resources.

Q. WHAT’S IN THE PLAN?

A. A conservation plan includes:

  • Producer/landowner-determined objectives/goals.
  • Aerial photographs or diagrams of your fields.
  • Soils information.
  • Resource information like forage or crop production potential or potential stocking rates.
  • List of your treatment decisions.
  • Location and schedule for applying conservation practices and systems
  • Plan of operation and maintenance of conservation practices and systems.
     

Q. HOW CAN IT HELP ME?

A. Combining your farming or ranching skills with the science-based knowledge and tools of the conservation planner can help you more effectively care for the resources upon which you depend to make your living.

Q. HOW MUCH TIME WILL IT TAKE TO DEVELOP?

A. The time varies from a couple of hours to multiple hours, depending on the type of land you have, your production and resource goals and the type of operation you run. Generally, a conservation planner will require only enough of your time to make certain your goals and objectives are met and that you’re satisfied with the plan.


Q. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

A. There is no charge for this service.

Q. DO I NEED TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO MY LAND OR RECORDS?

A. Several steps are necessary to develop a quality conservation plan, starting with a resource inventory of your land – which will require the planner to visit your farm or ranch. But your plans and records are yours and are protected by law.
 

Q. WHO CONTROLS WHAT’S IN THE PLAN?

A. You do. It’s your plan. The conservation planner, however, will provide you with various alternatives for each land use or area of interest.


Q. WHAT IF THE PLAN DOESN’T MEET MY NEEDS?

A. If the plan isn’t meeting your objectives, you can work with your resource planner to develop different alternatives that will.
 

Q. WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?

A. Call or stop by your local NRCS office and make an appointment to have a conservation planner help you get started on creating your own conservation plan. Your conservation planner will work with you and guide you through the process. In the end, you’ll have a conservation plan you’ll be proud of – a plan that will help ensure a quality way of life for you and your family.