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Conservation Technical Assistance

Conservation Technical Assistance

What is Conservation Technical Assistance?


The Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) program provides voluntary conservation technical assistance to land-users, communities, units of state and local government, and other Federal agencies in planning and implementing conservation systems. This assistance is for planning and implementing conservation practices that address natural resource issues. It helps people voluntarily conserve, improve and sustain natural resources.

The Benefits of Conservation Technical Assistance

 The NRCS offers technical assistance for planning and implementing natural resource solutions to:

NRCS employee
  • Reduce erosion
  • Improve soil health and productivity
  • Improve water quantity and quality
  • Improve and conserve wetlands
  • Enhance fish and wildlife habitat and restore natural ecosystems
  • Improve air quality
  • Improve pasture health
  • Improve woodlands
  • Address other natural resource issues

Why does NRCS offer CTA


Technical assistance is for planning and implementing natural resource solutions to reduce erosion, improve soil health, improve water quantity and quality, improve and conserve wetlands, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, improve air quality, improve pasture and range health, reduce upstream flooding, improve woodlands, and address other natural resource issues.


CTA program objectives are:


NRCS employee and group
  • To assist individual land users, communities, conservation districts, and other units of State and local government and Federal agencies to meet their goals for resource stewardship and assist individuals to comply with State and local requirements. NRCS assistance to individuals is provided through conservation districts in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed by the Secretary of Agriculture, the governor of the state, and the conservation district. Assistance is provided to land users voluntarily applying conservation and to those who must comply with local or State laws and regulations. To assist agricultural producers to comply with the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and wetland provisions (Swampbusterof the 1985 Food Security Act as amended by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 3801 et. seq.) and the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 and wetlands requirements of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. NRCS makes HEL and wetland determinations and helps land users develop and implement conservation plans to comply with the law.
  • To provide technical assistance to participants in USDA cost-share and conservation incentive programs. Assistance is funded on a reimbursable basis from the Commodity Credit Corporation.
  • To collect, analyze, interpret, display, and disseminate information about the condition and trends of the Nation's soil and other natural resources so that people can make good decisions about resource use and about public policies for resource conservation.
  • To develop effective science-based technologies for natural resource assessment, management, and conservation.

How does CTA work with Farm Bill programs?

NRCS employee

The conservation technical assistance base program, wholly or in part, provides technical assistance for implementation of the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Provisions, and many other programs authorized by the 1996 Farm Bill. NRCS technical field staff makes HEL and wetland determinations and assist land-users to develop and implement conservation plans needed to ensure compliance with the law.



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.

National CTA web site