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What is the Natural Resources Conservation Service?

 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides funding and technical knowledge to help private-property owners, conservation districts and other groups restore and conserve their land. This executive branch agency, overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers programs that help with projects such as installing efficient water-delivery systems on ranches and implementing farming practices that improve soil health. It also promotes the creation of conservation easements. Congress created the NRCS — originally called the Soil Conservation Service — in 1935, in the midst of the Dust Bowl, to help farmers curtail soil erosion. Most of the agency’s budget ($4.7 billion in 2016) supports programs mandated by the Farm Bill, including incentives for developing grazing plans, improving wildlife habitat, and boosting air and water quality. The NRCS employs about 11,500 people.