Welcome to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in South Carolina. The NRCS has been helping farm and forest landowners in the Palmetto State address resource conservation concerns using Farm Bill programs since 1933.
Who we are:
The USDA's, NRCS is a agency under the Department's Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) division and focuses on the conservation of natural resources to ensure availability to future generations. As a non-regulatory agency, we work together with farm and forest landowners to identify conservation concerns on their operations and provide solutions through voluntary conservation programs.
What we do:
Through a series of USDA Service Centers across the state, we help agricultural producers and non-industrial private forest landowners in South Carolina address resource concerns on their operations. Working with landowners we provide advice and assistance to on best practices to address resource concerns including soil, water, air, plants and animals. Based on your operation and objectives, we help develop conservation plans and offer voluntary conservation programs that can increase soil health and fertility, reduce erosion, improve animal habitat and diversity, and ensure farm and forestland for future generations of South Carolinians.
How we can help:
NRCS offers two types of assistance for conservation concerns: Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA), and Financial Assistance (FA):
Conservation Technical Assistance:
- Our staff of of soil conservationists, soil scientists, and engineers, along with out network of partners, can help offer Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) to provide advice on your conservation concerns - at not cost. This advice is is tailored to your particular situation, and is developed to help you understand best practices to mitigate the concern. It will also help you to develop a course of action that may lead you to participate in our voluntary, Financial Assistance (FA) programs. Learn about the Conservation Technical Assistance Program.
- Through the USDA Farm Bill programs, NRCS in South Carolina offers Financial Assistance (FA) programs that can help you get your conservation projects on the ground. Under these cost-sharing programs, NRCS can provide assistance to make your conservation project a reality. Program requirements vary under each subsequent Farm Bill and program eligibility and requirement can change from year to year.
Application Deadlines for Programs in South Carolina
- Signup Period for FY2023 EQIP Organic Transition Initiative applications begins on May 30, 2023, and is open thru June 30, 2023.
- New Signup Period for FY2023 CSP IRA applications open thru June 30, 2023.
- CSP Classic: April 15, 2023, Application Cutoff
- FY2023 IRA-EQIP application batching period is open thru April 21, 2023.
- FY2023 IRA-CSP application batching period is open thru April 21, 2023.
- Deadline for CART Assessments and Ranking Deadline of FY2023 First EQIP Application Signups: March 10, 2023.
- Deadline for Cost Estimates to be entered into CART and ProTracts: March 10, 2023.
- ACEP: Dec. 1, 2022, Application Cutoff
Popular Conservation Topics in South Carolina
State Payment Schedule
NRCS provides financial assistance for selected conservation practices. The availability and amount of financial assistance can vary between states.
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.
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.
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 tract number.
If you don’t have a farm tract 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 tract 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.
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.