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The National Agronomy Manual (NAM) contains policy for agronomy activities and provides technical procedures for uniform implementation of agronomy tools and applications. This manual is meant to complement all established USDA and NRCS policies and guidelines.

Responsibilities of national, State, area, and field agronomists

The national agronomist, nutrient management specialists, and pest management specialists at the national level and agronomists on the center staffs and the National Technical Support Centers provide staff assistance in all NRCS programs and provide national leadership on NRCS agronomy-related activities. They are responsible for:

  • Assisting upper management in formulating and recommending national policies, procedures, and standards
  • Technical leadership and guidance; quality control
  • National coordination of agronomy with other NRCS technical fields
  • Promoting and maintaining relations with groups and agencies that have common interest in agronomy
  • Technology transfer and direct technical support to States and State staff

State agronomists provide staff assistance to the State conservationist for all agronomy and related functions. They are responsible for:

  • Assisting in developing State policies, procedures, and instructions, and coordinating them with other States within the region
  • Providing technical leadership and guidance to other agronomists and appropriate personnel within the State
  • Collaborating with other State staff members to ensure interdisciplinary action in all NRCS programs
  • Training field personnel
  • Participating in agronomy components of appraisals and reviews
  • maintaining working relations with research centers and other cooperating agencies
  • developing and revising of all aspects of Field Office Technical Guides related to agronomy
  • providing assistance in interdisciplinary technical reviews of project plans, environmental impact statements, and other technical materials
  • coordinating agronomy functions with other States in the region and across regional boundaries as appropriate

Area, zone, or field level agronomists provide staff assistance in all NRCS programs. They are responsible for carrying out the requirements of conservation agronomy consistent with technical proficiency, training, interdisciplinary action, and quality control within their administrative area. In some cases, these agronomists may carry out some of the responsibilities of the State agronomists, if so delegated.

Agronomists in the mentioned positions may provide specific functions through team or ad hoc assignments at a National, regional, or State level. Each agronomist has the responsibility to develop a training needs inventory and to work with their supervisor to obtain technical training to improve the overall agronomic expertise.


Technical information— preparing, transferring, and training

Agronomists at all levels use technical information that has been developed by researchers, universities, institutes, and private sources to maintain technical materials for the administrative area they serve. Agronomists at all administrative levels develop and review field office technical guide materials and ensure materials are technically correct, comprehensive, and useful to the end user.

NRCS policy on preparing and maintaining technical guides is in General Manual (GM) Title 450, Part 401. In addition, State agronomists are responsible for technical notes and other agronomy technical materials that are applicable to the State.

Agronomists issue technical information at the area, State, or national level. This may include original information, research notes, papers, or excerpts of such material. All agronomists are encouraged to submit articles for publication or presentation at professional meetings. Technical information presented or prepared for publication shall have an appropriate technical and or administrative review and include crediting of appropriate references per GM450 Part 410, Subpart B, Scientific and Technical Publications Review Program.

Agronomists receive and provide training necessary to maintain technical competency at all administrative levels. Training includes, but is not limited to, National Employee Development Center courses, workshops, conferences, university courses, and on-the-job training.

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National Agronomy Manual

The National Agronomy Manual contains policy for agronomy activities and provides technical procedures for uniform implementation of agronomy tools and applications.