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Conservation Technical Assistance

Conservation Technical Assistance

Staff Contact:

Interested agricultural producers should contact their Local USDA NRCS Office.

The Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) Program provides technical assistance supported by science-based technology and tools to help people conserve, maintain, and improve their natural resources. The CTA Program provides the technical capability, including direct conservation planning, design, and implementation assistance, that helps people plan and apply conservation on the land.  This assistance is provided to individuals, groups, and communities who make natural resource management decisions on private, tribal, and other non-federal lands. NRCS, through the CTA Program, provides conservation technical assistance that addresses natural resource conservation issues at the local level that are of State and national concern.

Objectives of the program are to:

  • Provide conservation technical assistance to individuals or groups of decision makers, communities, conservation districts, units of State and local government, tribes, and others to voluntarily conserve, maintain, and improve natural resources.
  • Provide community, watershed, and area-wide technical assistance in collaboration with units of government, to develop and implement resource management plans that conserve, maintain and improve natural resources.
  • Provide conservation technical assistance to agricultural producers to comply with the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland (Swampbuster) Conservation Compliance Provisions of the l985 Food Security Act, as amended.
  • Provide conservation technical assistance to decision makers to assist them to comply with Federal, State, tribal, and local environmental regulations and related requirements, and to prepare them to become eligible to participate in other Federal, State, and local conservation programs. 
  • Provide soils information and interpretation to individuals or groups of decision makers, communities, States, and others to aid sound decision making in the wise use and management of soil resources.
  • Collect, analyze, interpret, display, and disseminate information about the status, condition, and trend of soil, water, and related natural resources so that people can make informed decisions for natural resource use and management. 
  • Assess the effects of conservation practices and systems on the condition of natural resources.  
  • Develop, adapt, and transfer effective science-based technologies and tools for assessment, management, and conservation of natural resources.

Purpose of the Program is to:

The CTA Program provides the proven and consistent conservation technology and delivery infrastructure needed to achieve the benefits of a healthy and productive landscape, and has the following purposes:

  • Reduce soil loss from erosion.
  • Solve soil, water quality, water conservation, air quality, and agricultural waste management problems.
  • Reduce potential damage caused by excess water and sedimentation or drought.
  • Enhance the quality of fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Improve the long term sustainability of all lands, including cropland, forestland, grazing lands, coastal lands, and developed and/or developing lands.
  • Assist others in facilitating changes in land use as needed for natural resource protection and sustainability.

Relation to Other Conservation Provisions and Programs

The CTA Program provides the local delivery system and the foundation technical expertise for other NRCS programs.  The CTA Program is unique because it provides a substantive level of technical expertise, background and support for Federal, tribal, State, and local conservation programs.  This technical base enables other NRCS programs by facilitating conservation planning, interagency coordination, technical consultations, and collaboration with decision makers. For example, the CTA Program assists in preparing landowners and decision makers for participation in USDA conservation financial assistance and easement programs.  The CTA Program also provides much of the preliminary emergency disaster technical assistance for the Agency's Emergency Watershed Protection Program.  The CTA Program also is available to assist clients with maintenance of conservation plans and practices/systems that resulted through expired or completed financially-assisted contracts or projects. The CTA Program also is used to assist decision makers for conservation planning prior to the commitment or approval of a participant’s funding for financial assistance.


The working relationships that landowners and communities have with their local NRCS staff are unique. One-on-one help through flexible, voluntary programs occurs every day in local NRCS offices across the country. It is the way NRCS does business, and it works. To obtain conservation technical assistance, contact your local USDA-NRCS office.