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Get Started with NRCS

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Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease? NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest managers. Here’s how you can get started with NRCS:

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

Office Locator: 

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NRCS provides farmers, ranchers and forest managers 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. Technical assistance is also available online through Conservation Client Gateway

Technical Assistance:

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

  • To fill out form 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. This ensures you meet conservation compliance provisions.
     
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200 (Enter 1200  in the Form Number field and click the search button)If you are entity interested in Agricultural Land Easements then the application will be CPA 41 and CPA 41A.

While NRCS accepts program applications year-round, producers and landowners should apply by state-specific ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Applications received after the ranking date will be automatically considered during the next funding cycle. Funding is provided through a competitive process. Program ranking dates by state can be found at www.nrcs.usda.gov/staterankingdates/. You can also apply for financial assistance and manage applications, contracts and conservation plans online through farmers.gov.

Financial Assistance:

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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.

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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.

NRCS provides financial assistance for selected conservation activities. The availability and amount of financial assistance can vary between states. See which practices qualify and how much financial assistance is available in your state here.

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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.

5 Steps to Assistance Fact Sheet (PDF, 1 MB)