U.S. Department of Agriculture (Natural Resources Conservation Service)


The mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. Through its several agencies, offices, programs and services, the USDA provides a wide variety of financial resources.  These financial resources, including tax incentives, grant, loans, capacity building, among others, are provided in order to assist the economic development of rural communities, conservation of natural resources, improving housing options, and strengthening local and regional food systems.


Conservation Easements

The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Programs

Assists with the voluntary purchase of conservation easements from landowners. These easements ensure that the land will never be developed out of agricultural use and will continue to provide income for landowners. USDA partners with state, tribal, and local governments and farmland protection programs to acquire conservation easements from landowners. Owners of certain agricultural lands, subject to income limitations, apply through these state, tribal, and local entities.

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Agricultural Management Assistance

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations. The financial assistance is up to 75% of the cost of t installing conservation practices.

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Agricultural Water Enhancement Program

A voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality.

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Conservation Innovation Grants

A voluntary program that provides financial assistance to enable the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.

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Environmental Quality Incentive Program

A voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts of up to ten years in length. These contracts help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and that improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.

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The Conservation Stewardship Program

Assists producers carrying out activities that conserve or improve the quality of natural resources on their land, such as soil, water, air, and wildlife. The program shares the costs of implementing existing or new conservation activities.

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Conservation Technical Assistance

Helps individuals manage natural resources such as soil, water, and wildlife. This program provides a broad array of assistance, including the conservation planning that must occur before an application for financial assistance from another program is approved and technical assistance to help individuals comply with regulatory requirements.

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