5 steps to get NRCS assistance

wheat field

In November, our Farming 101 series focused on the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). We’ve shared what NRCS is, the importance of a conservation plan and funding opportunities available.

Now that you know what is available, NRCS offers these five steps to getting assistance.

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To get started with NRCS, stop by a local field office. NRCS provides farmers and forest owners free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. The NRCS staff will also help determine what financial assistance will be right for your land.

NRCS staff will walk you through the application process. They will help you fill out form AD1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed and identifies protected wetland areas. It also ensures you meet conservation compliance provisions.

For most programs, applications are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Talk with your NRCS representative to determine your deadlines for funding.

In order to determine eligibility you will need to bring the following:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID); if applying under an employer ID number, then a DUNS number and current CCR registration are required.
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property.
  • A farm tract number. If you don’t have a farm tract number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. You only need this if you are interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the applicants’ needs.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done. Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement.

Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.

Sources: For more information and to get started visit nrcs.usda.gov.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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