Overview of project
We know that small farms are deeply connected to their landscape and farmers often strive to be good stewards of the land’s resources. We also know that access to tangible resources is critical, especially for farmers historically and currently excluded from federal agricultural programs.
The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) can be one of these critical farm resources, but being highly competitive, barriers to their cost-share assistance still exist. To increase farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial forest owners’ eligibility for NRCS assistance, RAFI-USA, in partnership with regional organizations and farms, is providing resources, trainings, network connections, and one-on-one technical assistance for conservation enhancements on their land in 11 southeastern states, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands.
Some of the ways we can help are:
- Understanding NRCS eligibility, programs, and popular initiatives
- Identifying resource concerns and conservation practices that could qualify your land for NRCS assistance
- Completing necessary forms to apply for NRCS cost-share assistance
- Making successful contact with your local NRCS agent
- Connect you to other farmers with successful NRCS conservation projects
Unfamiliar with NRCS?
The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) program assists farmers and ranchers with information, planning, and financial assistance to develop or enhance conservation practices on land they manage. Upon meeting certain qualifications, a designated federal NRCS staff person in your region should help you create and implement a land conservation plan and apply for financial assistance if desired. Farmers of Color, US Veterans, New and Beginning Farmers, and Limited Resource Farmers may receive more financial assistance as “Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers” through higher payment rates and advance payments to kickstart their farm enhancement projects.
Conservation enhancements could include one-time installations or ongoing practices that reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility and carbon sequestration, improve shade or shelter for livestock, improve water availability and quality, improve crop, forage, livestock, wildlife and forest health and biodiversity, and improve energy efficiency in farm operations and structures.
Anita Roberson of Botanical Bites and Provisions, LLC
Learn more about Technical Assistance
Having support from someone who can understand your desires and needs is important! We will connect you to a RAFI-USA staff member or partner who can assist you with technology needs, and your resource conservation goals, in your specific location.
Technical Assistance is specially reserved for historically underserved producers, such as new or beginning farmers, farmers of color, veterans, or limited resource individuals. To get started with TA now, fill out our intake form. A technical assistance provider will reach out shortly after. —>>>English Form —>>>Spanish Form
Download useful material here
Other USDA resources
- Farm Bill Home (usda.gov)
- National Program Deadlines (farmers.gov)
- Disaster Resource Center | USDA
NRCS Specific resources
- Conservation Planning
- Eligible Conservation Practices
- Limited Resource Farmer/Rancher Self-Determination Tool
- Locate your local Service Center
- NRCS Programs
- NEW! Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Documents
- Rapid Watershed Assessment
These videos are from our project partner, Farmer Cee Stanley of Green Heffa Farm. She’s sharing her perspective as a farmer currently working with NRCS.