Two-thirds of the land in the lower 48 states is privately owned, and these working farms, ranches and forests produce much of the country’s food and fiber. These working lands also provide much of our nation’s open space and the habitats that wildlife need.
Through the Farm Bill, NRCS is able to provide assistance to agricultural producers who want to voluntarily make wildlife-friendly improvements on their land. These conservation activities, or practices, benefit fish and wildlife while also boosting the land’s resiliency of and production.
With help from NRCS, producers have conserved millions of acres of wildlife habitat, from the sagebrush and grasslands of the West to forests in the East. This work has led to the rebound and recovery of many species, including the Oregon chub, Louisiana black bear, New England Cottontail and greater sage-grouse. Meet a few of these producers, our Habitat Heroes, as well as the wildlife species that benefit.
NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help producers plan and implement a variety of conservation practices that benefit game and non-game wildlife species and agricultural operations.
Technical assistance is free to producers, through which the agency’s team of experts work side-by-side with producers to develop a conservation plan. This plan is customized the producer’s land and provides a roadmap for how to use a system of conservation practices to meet natural resource and production goals.
Financial assistance helps producers pay for the adoption of a system of conservation practices that improve the health of ecosystems. NRCS assistance covers about 50 to 70 percent of the cost.
If you’re interested in technical and financial assistance from NRCS, please contact your local USDA service center.
The Farm Bill is the largest source of federal funding for private lands conservation, which provides ample opportunities for producers to aid wildlife on working lands. NRCS administers a number of programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which benefit wildlife.
Additionally, NRCS uses targeted landscape-level initiatives to accelerate conservation work where it can net the biggest impacts. The Working Lands for Wildlife partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service targets conservation for seven target species.