Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is a federal agency and a partner of the Allegan Conservation District. We are co-located in the same office in the USDA Allegan Service Center.

Since 1935, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (originally called the Soil Conservation Service) has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America’s private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources.

NRCS employees provide technical assistance based on sound science and suited to a customer’s specific needs. We provide financial assistance for many conservation activities. Participation in our programs is voluntary.

Our 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.

We reach out to all segments of the agricultural community, including underserved and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, to ensure that our programs and services are accessible to everyone.

We manage natural resource conservation programs that provide environmental, societal, financial, and technical benefits.

Our science and technology activities provide technical expertise in such areas as animal husbandry and clean water, ecological sciences, engineering, resource economics, and social sciences.

We provide expertise in soil science and leadership for soil surveys and for the National Resources Inventory, which assesses natural resource conditions and trends in the United States.

Soil Information

Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world. NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation’s counties and anticipates having 100 percent in the near future. The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. It supports production agriculture and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, farmers, ranchers, private forest land owners and Federally-recognized American Indian tribes may receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and land management conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.

Eligible producers are individuals engaged in livestock, crop or forest production. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, and private non-industrial forestland. State priorities are developed annually from input from local workgroups based on county resource assessments and individual plans to address those local needs. A State Technical Committee comprised of representation from these local work groups, Tribal groups, commodity groups, and conservation partners advise NRCS on the implementation of EQIP.

EQIP activities are carried out according to a site specific conservation plan developed in conjunction with the producer. All conservation practices are installed according to NRCS technical standards. Producers may elect to use an approved technical service provider for technical assistance.

EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term of one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practice and a maximum term of ten years. Total cost share and incentive payments are limited to $300,000 per individual over a six-year period, regardless of the number of farms or contracts. Eligibility for EQIP is subject to the Adjusted Gross Income provision of the 2008 Farm Bill and highly erodible land and wetland conversion provisions. “EQIP Homepage”:

See the official NRCS website

Cover crop and slurry applications