USDA-NRCS provides Federal cost share programs for agricultural conservation efforts in the U.S. In addition, they provide most technical assistance and are the best source of information when it comes to standards and specifications for agricultural practices. The Field Office Technical Guide provides information and technical standards for conservation practices and serves as an outstanding reference to compare an existing practice to the national or state standard.
- Customer Service Toolkit is a collection of software tools for USDA field employees who work with farmers and ranchers. It is also useful to partner agencies that provide conservation planning and resource assessment information. The Toolkit helps natural resource planners provide information to the public, resulting in conservation of the land. The tools incorporate commercial software products that let conservationists provide natural resource information in professional-looking products. Toolkit also provides tools for mapping and analyzing natural resource information.
- Conservation Stewardship Program: CSP is a new version of the Conservation Security Program, a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on Tribal and private working lands.
- Resource Conservation and Development Offices: The purpose of the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) program is to accelerate the conservation, development and utilization of natural resources, improve the general level of economic activity, and to enhance the environment and standard of living in designated RC&D areas. It improves the capability of State, tribal and local units of government and local nonprofit organizations in rural areas to plan, develop and carry out programs for resource conservation and development. RC&D areas are locally sponsored areas designated by the Secretary of Agriculture for RC&D technical and financial assistance program funds. Some have limited assessment programs, usually in specific areas. Most RC&D’s successfully solicit external funding for implementation of agricultural programs.
- Environmental Quality Incentive Program: EQIP provides a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants in installing or implementing structural and management practices on agricultural land. EQIP activities are carried out according to an environmental quality incentives program plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or practices to address the resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified third-party provider for technical assistance. Under EQIP, the impacts of implementing any funded project are assessed and compared to existing practices and management to determine potential benefits.
- Land Evaluation and Site Assessment: The Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (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. In agricultural land evaluation, soils are rated and placed into groups ranging from the best to the least suited for a specific agricultural use, such as cropland, forestland, or rangeland.
- Technical Service Providers, The NRCS developed this program to certify and track professionals in the private sector that are interested in providing technical assistance with their programs. This database of providers could provide a resource of knowledgeable consultants that could assist with agricultural assessments.
- Soil Quality Assessment Tool
- Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation program and database