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Bob Hunget no-till plants soybeans into a knee-high cereal rye cover crop on Ron Stone's cropland north of Indianola on May 18, 2023. Stone will have the cereal rye terminated soon after planting.


We help Iowa's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners conserve the nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.

Looking for documents? Visit our Field Office Technical Guide.

Happening in Iowa

Success Stories
Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG)

Iowa State Office

  • 210 Walnut Street, Room 693
    Des Moines, IA 50309

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit

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Iowa Land Uses
Iowa Technical Resources
Iowa Soil Health
Iowa Urban Agriculture

State Programs and Initiatives

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) offer federally funded, voluntary conservation programs to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners protect and conserve the natural resources we all depend on, supporting healthy soil, cleaner air and water, and conserving wildlife habitats, while helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

NRCS and FSA conservation programs are incentive based and provide financial assistance to implement conservation practices. NRCS also offers free conservation technical assistance to help producers plan practices. NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round, but applications are ranked and funded by funding cycle, which have state specific application dates.

The NRCS I love Soil Health bracelet in corn residue with soybeans rows popping up beside it.

State Payment Schedule

NRCS provides financial assistance for selected conservation practices. The availability and amount of financial assistance can vary between states.

Volunteers build a high tunnel in a food desert neighborhood of Waterloo, Iowa, July 29, 2022

Civil Rights Committee

The National Civil Rights Advisory Committee to the Chief (NCRACC) is designed to provide management officials and employees with counsel and advice to enhance and ensure compliance with their equal employment opportunity and program delivery responsibilities.

Iowa pond to help reduce sediment delivery in the Rathbun Lake Watershed, and to help irrigate local orchard.

State Technical Committee

State Technical Committees serve in an advisory capacity to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the implementation of the natural resources conservation provisions of Farm Bill legislation.

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.