NRCS uses Landscape Conservation Initiatives to accelerate the benefits of voluntary conservation programs, such as cleaner water and air, healthier soil and enhanced wildlife habitat.
The On-Farm Energy Initiative enables producers to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm and implement practices associated with energy conservation.
Honey Bee Effort Honey bees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of crops annually, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables. One out of every three bites of food in the United States depends on honey bees and other pollinators. But honey bee populations have suffered significant declines in recent years.
The Organic Initiative provides opportunities for organic producers to address
resource concerns related to organic production. *NEW*
The Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative is a partnership aimed at combating the decline of wildlife species whose decline can be reversed and will benefit other species similar habitat needs. Through Working Lands for Wildlife, North Dakota landowners can voluntarily participate in an incentive-based efforts to:
- Restore populations of declining Sage Grouse.
- Provide farmers, ranchers, and forest managers with regulatory certainty that conservation investments they make today help sustain their operations over the long term.
- Strengthen and sustain rural economies by restoring and protecting the productive capacity of working lands.
Through these initiatives, NRCS seeks to accomplish:
Conservation beyond boundaries—Landscape-scale natural resource concerns, such as species conservation and water quality, cannot be treated effectively based on geo-political boundaries. NRCS recognizes that natural resource concerns transcend farm, county, and state boundaries.
A science-based approach—Findings from the multi-agency Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) indicate the most effective way to increase protection of natural resources is to target conservation to the most vulnerable or valuable areas and to apply a systems rather than a practice-by-practice approach. Within individual initiatives, the best available university and government science resources are used to define initiative targeting approaches.
Build on existing locally-led efforts and partnerships—NRCS seeks to maximize the success of initiatives by leveraging partner interest and resources through programmatic and other tools.
Regulatory certainty for agricultural producers—Where applicable, NRCS is working with regulators so agricultural producers can have certainty that the voluntary conservation systems they implement are consistent with current and potential regulation, as well as sustained agricultural production.
Jarvis R. Keney
Assistant State Conservationist (Programs)
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Ready to get started?
Contact your local service center to start your application.
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.