NRCS is an agency committed to “helping people help the land”—our mission is to provide resources to farmers and landowners to aid them with conservation. Ensuring productive lands in harmony with a healthy environment is our priority. With operations in the United States, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam, our agency touches the lives of a diverse range of individuals.
NRCS employs approximately 12,000 people in its 2900 offices; 90 percent of whom work outside of Washington, D.C. We are in numerous communities across North America, working hand-in-hand with landowners and our partners to improve our natural resources. Our passion is derived from stewardship of the land—benefits we all enjoy, such as cleaner air and water, improved soil and abundant wildlife habitat.
What originally began as the Soil Conservation Service in 1935 is now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a name change that highlights our broader mission of conservation. Bringing 60 years of scientific and technical expertise to the conversation industry, we are involved with activities that help benefit soil, water, plants, air, and animals. With seventy percent of U.S. land privately owned, partnership with private landowners is critical to health of our nation’s land. By providing assistance to these landowners, we help to cultivate productive lands and healthy ecosystems.
NRCS succeeds through its partnerships, working closely with individual farmers and ranchers, landowners, local conservation districts, government agencies, Tribes, Earth Team volunteers and many other people and groups that care about the quality of America’s natural resources. Partnerships allow our agency to expand the reach and depth of conservation. It is our duty to service the people by providing quality assistance to farmers and landowners to ensure we protect our nation’s lands. The first conservation district, bounded by the Brown Creek watershed in North Carolina, was founded August 4, 1937. Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts is one of our key partners. Many other organizations, entities, and people help NRCS apply conservation on the land. You can learn more about our partners here.
You can also get involved with our volunteer program, The Earth Team, to help make a difference in the conservation effort. In 2010, we had over 29,000 volunteers dedicate themselves to helping our mission. Our Earth Team members get the opportunity to work side-by-side with farmers and ranchers to identify natural resource concerns, and are able to develop unique conservation plans for restoring and protecting resources. Anyone 14 years or older can become a volunteer. We offer volunteer positions for both full and part-time. If you are interested in becoming a part of our mission, feel free to visit our volunteer page for more information.
Conserving our natural resources is not a one-person job. The farmers and private landowners of this country cannot do it alone, nor can the government. We must all work together to help make sure that our land is sustainable for generations to come.