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Wisconsin NRCS Programs

Complying with a Conservation Plan

In order to participate in USDA farm programs, Federal law requires that all persons that produce agriculture commodities must protect their highly erodible cropland from excessive erosion.  In addition, anyone participating in USDA farm programs must certify that they have not produced crops on converted wetlands and did not convert a wetland.  Find out more about Conservation Compliance.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

The CSP will help owners and operators of agricultural lands maintain conservation stewardship and implement and maintain additional needed conservation practices. The conservation benefits gained will keep farms and ranches more sustainable and profitable and increase the benefits provided to all Americans through improved natural resources.   Find out more about the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA)

Through Conservation Technical Assistance, NRCS assists landowners and land users, communities, units of state and local government, Tribes, and other Federal agencies in planning and implementing conservation systems.  Find out more about CTA and how NRCS can offer you technical assistance.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

CRP can reduce erosion, increase wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and increase forestland.  Landowners sets aside cropland with annual rental payments based on amount bid.   Tree planting, wildlife ponds, grass cover, and other environmental practices are eligible practices.

Eligibility varies by soil type and crop history. Land is accepted into program if bid qualifies. Continuous signup open for buffers, waterways and environmental practices. Periodic signups announced throughout the year for other practices.   The contract period is 10 years, 15 years if planting hardwood trees.  It is transferable with change in ownership.  Public Access is not required.  Find out more about the Conservation Reserve Program.

Easement Programs

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and restore wetlands. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps state and local governments, Indian tribes, and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance wetlands that have been altered for agriculture.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP provides technical and financial help to farm and forest landowners for conservation practices that protect soil and water quality. 

Grassed waterways, stream fencing, critical area planting, terraces, manure management systems including storage structures and barnyard runoff protection, and many other conservation practices are eligible for EQIP.  Agricultural producers on agricultural land are eligible. Projects are selected based on environmental value.

Public Access is not required.   Contact your local NRCS office, or the local Land Conservation Department.  Find out more about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Farmland Protection Policy Act

The FPPA provides information on the prime and important farmland impacts of projects that use federal funds or technical assistance.  Entities planning projects that may irreversibly convert prime or important farmland to non-agricultural use, submit form AD-1006 during the planning stage. NRCS evaluates the impact of the project alternatives on prime and important farmland conversion and provides information to be used during the planning process. More FPPA information.

Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative

The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is intended to provide technical, educational and other help to conserve and improve privately owned grazing and pasture lands.   Intended practices include prescribed grazing, animal trails and walkways, and fencing.  Learn more about how NRCS can provide grazing assistance to you.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

To improve the health of the Great Lakes, NRCS is providing financial and technical resources to 8 states to improve water quality in the region. Through this Initiative, NRCS will focus on helping farmers implement conservation practices that reduce erosion, improve water quality, and maintain agricultural productivity in selected watersheds.  More Wisconsin GLRI information.

Mississippi River Basin Initiative

To improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin, including water quality and wildlife habitat, the Natural Resources Conservation Service established the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Through this new Initiative, NRCS and its partners will help producers in selected watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff; improve wildlife habitat; and maintain agricultural productivity.  National MRBI information.   Wisconsin MRBI information.

National Water Quality Initiative

The USDA's National Water Quality Initiative is committed to improving impaired waterways throughout the nation.  Three watersheds have been selected in Wisconsin. NRCS will help farmers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds to begin needed conservation practices to reduce sediment and nutrients entering the waterway. NWQI in Wisconsin

Plants and Plant Resources

NRCS develops many plant materials and plant technologies that helps farmers, land owners, and land users conserve the nation's resources.  We also have a variety of general and specific information on seeding, planting, identification, bioengineering, and reference material.  You can look up information in the PLANTS database.  You can also learn about plants and get fact sheets from the Plant Materials Program.

Stewardship Incentive Program (SIP)

SIP can provide cost-sharing to protect, manage, and enhance forest resources while meeting landowner objectives.   Forestry management plan, tree plantings, fish habitat improvement, recreational protection and enhancement, and wildlife habitat improvement, soil and water protection, shelter belts, threatened and endangered species, and wetland creation and restoration are eligible practices.

Eligible applicants include private landowner with 10 to 1,000 acres of woodland.  A 10-year commitment to maintain and protect SIP funded practices is required.  Public Access is not required. Contact the Farm Service AgencyWisconsin Dept of Natural Resources, or your county Land Conservation Department.

Technical Service Providers

Wisconsin's Technical Service Provider (TSP) program is intended to help professionals interested in providing  technical assistance to landowners and farmers under one of the 2002 Farm Bill conservation programs.  Find out more about how to become a TSP or use a TSP.

Watershed Programs

The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program is intended to take emergency measures to safeguard lives and property after a natural occurrence has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed.  More about the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.  Through EWP, NRCS may purchase easements on any floodplain lands that have a history of repeated flooding.  More about EWP Floodplain Easements (EWPP-FPE).

The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Programs assist governments and participants to protect and restore watershed from damage caused by erosion, floodwater, and sediment, to conserve and develop water and land resources, and solve natural resource and related economic problems on a watershed basis.  More about the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Programs.

As part of Watershed Rehabilitation, many Wisconsin dams that protect agricultural lands and communities need repairs.  The program helps communities and participants repair and rehabilitate these dams.  More about Watershed Rehabilitation.

Rapid Watershed Assessment is a new initiative by NRCS to provide data analysis and maps to help determine what conservation investments would best address watershed resource concerns. These assessments help landowners and local leaders set priorities and determine the best actions to achieve their goals.


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