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Land Use

Cover crop in cornCropland, forestland and pastureland comprise the major land uses in Vermont and the land uses receiving the majority of the conservation treatment that address our soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources.

It is the NRCS role to provide leadership and technical assistance for the conservation of our natural resources to ensure the continued production of food and fiber.

Major land use natural resource concerns include: (1) erosion by wind and water, (2) maintaining and enhancing soil quality, (3) water quality and quantity, (4) plant condition and health, and (5) wildlife habitat.

Please see the Vermont cropland, forestland and pastureland pages for more information on conservation practices and management planning tools as related to land use.

National Resources Inventory (NRI)

terraced farm aerial viewIt provides updated information on the status, condition, and trends of land, soil, water, and related resources on the Nation’s non-Federal lands. Non-Federal lands include privately owned lands, tribal and trust lands, and lands controlled by State and local governments. Read more.


Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA)

New LESA imageThe LESA system helps state and local officials make sound decisions about land use. Combined with Forest measures and Rangeland parameters, LESA can provide a technical framework to numerically rank land parcels based on local resource evaluation and site considerations. Read more.


Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA)

New FPPA imageThe FPPA is intended to minimize the impact Federal programs have on the unnecessary and irreversible conversion of farmland to nonagricultural uses. It assures that to the extent possible federal programs are administered to be compatible with state, local units of government, and private programs and policies to protect farmland. Read more.

News and Other Features

Fertilizer applicationNRCS released the revised national conservation practice standard on nutrient management to help producers better manage the application of nutrients on agricultural land. Proper application of nitrogen and phosphorus offers tremendous benefits to producers and the public, including cost savings to the producer and the protection or improvement of ground and surface water, air quality, soil quality and agricultural sustainability. Find the new 590 Nutrient Management Conservation Practice Standard in the electronic Field Office Technical Guide, Section IV, under Conservation Practices. (Click Vermont on the map, then select any county.  Use the drop down to select Section IV.)