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Conservation Planning

NRCS Conservation Planning and Conservation Technical Assistance Overview

Conservation Planning is the backbone of NRCS. So, when someone asks what can NRCS do for landowners in North

Job Approval Authority (JAA)

NRCS Job Approval Authority (JAA) is the quality assurance process that ensures implemented conservation practices will perform as intended.  All conservation practice designs and installations must be approved by a person with the appropriate job approval authority. 

Any person may work on preparing the design and checking the installation of conservation practices.  Any NRCS employee, or partner working under the technical supervision of NRCS, may be granted job approval authority, in accordance with policy and procedures.  NRCS JAA does not apply to Technical Service Providers.


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Certified Conservation Planner (CCP)

All conservation plans developed for NRCS purposes with the assistance of NRCS and partner employees will be approved by a NRCS or partner certified conservation planner. A certified conservation planner is a person who has demonstrated the necessary skills, training, and experience to assist clients to identify resource problems, to express the client's objectives, to propose feasible solutions to resource problems, and leads the client to choose and implement an effective alternative that treats resource concerns and meets their objectives.


More Information On CCP

Carolina?  Our services start with technical assistance in the form of conservation planning. Conservation planning is a voluntary process that helps landowners develop a customized record of their natural resources and how those resources are utilized on farming operations, forested lands and wildlife habitats. It interprets the capabilities and limitations of the land for meeting landowner objectives.

This customized record, called a Conservation Plan, outlines selected conservation practices that will improve the use of natural resources on the land. Conservation practices are used to overcome natural resource limitations and issues and improve sustainability. The plan provides a reasonable schedule to implement conservation practices. With a Conservation Plan in hand and identified conservation practices mapped out, NRCS will help landowners identify Farm Bill conservation programs that offer financial assistance to help implement the practices identified within a Conservation Plan.

Conservation Planning is your roadmap to NRCS conservation programs.

Conservation Planning Aids


Conservation Technical Assistance

Conservation Planning and NRCS technical assistance is offered through NRCS Conservation Technical Assistance.

Conservation technical assistance is the help NRCS and its partners provide to land users to address opportunities, concerns, and problems related to the use of natural resources and to help land users make sound natural resource management decisions on private, tribal, and other non-federal lands.

This assistance can help land users:

  • Maintain and improve private lands and their management
  • Implement better land management technologies
  • Protect and improve water quality and quantity
  • Maintain and improve wildlife and fish habitat
  • Enhance recreational opportunities on their land
  • Maintain and improve the aesthetic character of private land
  • Explore opportunities to diversify agricultural operations and
  • Develop and apply sustainable agricultural systems

This assistance may be in the form of resource assessment, practice design, resource monitoring, or follow-up of installed practices.

For more information about Conservation Technical Assistance, visit the National Conservation Planning web page.

The primary reference document guiding the delivery of NRCS technical assistance is the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG).

NRCS has a Practice Standard for each conservation practice. Section IV of the FOTG contains these standards. Each NRCS standards contains the following: (1) a practice Definition, (2) the applicable Purposes of the practice, (3) Conditions Where the Practice Applies, (4) Criteria, which define how the practice must be designed or applied in order to meet the intended purpose, (5) Considerations, which provide information on job complexity and considerations that the designer should consider when planning this practice, (6) Plans and Specifications, which include the specific documentation that must be addressed by the practice design and provided to the client, and (7) Operation and Maintenance, which defines what information must be provided to the client so they can manage and maintain the practice properly so it will function for its intended life span. Although participation in USDA-NRCS programs are voluntary, NRCS standards are frequently referenced by state and other federal laws. All technical assistance provided by NRCS, partners working under operational agreements with NRCS, or those providing assistance on USDA-NRCS's behalf must meet NRCS standards. Similarly, all technical assistance provided by Technical Service Providers in support of Farm Bill programs must meet NRCS standards.

NRCS Conservation Practice Standards

The current NRCS national conservation practice standards may be viewed on the National Conservation Practices web page. The practice standards adopted for use in a state may include special provisions or additional details needed for variations in natural resource conditions, or to meet state laws, local ordinances, or regulations. The conservation practice standards adopted for use in a state are used for providing conservation technical assistance by NRCS conservationists and our conservation partners in the state; and are served in the eFOTG Section IV for each state.