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Conservation Planning

A farmer and an NRCS employee look at a conservation plan while standing in a field.


Your guide to conservation and environmental farming practices.droplet on a leaf

We will guide you through a variety of conservation and environmental farming practices and explain how each practice helps improve your land.

Total Resource Management

The key to a successful total resource management system takes careful and complete planning, patience, organization, and teamwork. Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, each practice fits together with others to create a complete system that protects resources found on your land.

When designing a total resource management plan, remember to...

  • Take an inventory; think about every field, pasture, pond, stream, and wooded area.
  • Consider which conservation practices would contribute to an environmentally and economically sound farm.
Total Resource Management ChecklistFarm partitioned into four quadrants
  • What are the natural resources on my farm?
  • What crops do I plan to plant?
  • Have I minimized runoff?
  • Am I using crop rotations to reduce disease and pest problems?
  • What type of wildlife would I like on my farm?
  • Does any practice interfere with or cancel out another practice?
  • Can I use wetlands or filter strips to filter nutrients from runoff water?
  • Am I making the best use of animal manure as nutrients for plants?
Conservation Practices You Can Apply to Your Land

Each Conservation Practice lists the benefits it can provide:

Air Quality - This practice helps improve air quality by reducing odor and other problems.

Energy - Use this practice to reduce energy use and costs.

Profits - Use this practice to increase profits by reducing costs, increasing production, or both.

Soil Erosion - This practice reduces soil erosion and sediment runoff, or may add organic matter to the soil.

Water Quality - This practice protects or improves water quality.

Wildlife - With this practice, you're thinking of wildlife by providing habitat or food sources.

Select a Conservation Practice to learn its purpose and how it helps to improve your land.

The conservation practices presented above represent some of the more common approaches to ensure sustainability and reduce, if not eliminate, environmental degradation. The soil, water, and related natural resources will benefit by these and other conservation practices. Additional information is available on the NRCS New Jersey electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG).

conservation choices PowerPoint slideThe presentation is available as a PowerPoint presentation below for downloading.
This document requires Microsoft PowerPoint.

Conservation Choices (3.3 mb)


20 page booklet explains conservation practices and the resource concerns they addressAnother helpful resource

Small Scale, Small Field Conservation (PDF, 7MB)


This page last updated April 2017.