Conservation at Work

The NRCS Distribution Center for Publications has a wide variety of free printable resources related to conservation. These publications, flyers and forms cover many different topics related to conservation and preservation of our natural resources.

Some of these include:

Whether you’re a farmer, educator or just a curious person, this is a great resource full of interesting information.

The NRCS Distribution Center accepts orders online, or you can view/download these items at this website.

From a wide view of a red clover field to the microscopic view of a purple snout mite, these photos all capture part of soil’s rich ecosystem.

Treat soil like it’s living, because it is.

Happy Earth Day 2014!

Here at NRCS every day is Earth Day. Conservation is our mission, and we know the key to a healthy, sustainable environment is healthy soil.

The 21st Century presents a number of challenges:

  • how will we feed 9 billion people by 2050?
  • how can we grow more food on fewer acres?
  • how do we adapt to a changing climate?

For each of these challenges, the solutions are at our feet. Healthy soil:

  • improves crop yields.
  • captures more water and is less vulnerable to drought.
  • captures carbon and mitigates climate change. 

A healthy Earth begins with healthy soil. You can improve your soil’s health by following these four steps:

  1. Minimize soil disturbance. The soil’s natural biological cycles and soil structure can be disrupted through tillage, chemical disturbance or improper livestock grazing. 
  2. Energize with diversity. Diversity above ground improves diversity below ground.
  3. Keep the soil covered. Using cover crops helps restore soil health and protect against soil erosion.
  4. Maximize living roots. Year-round, living roots are essential to provide the food and habitat for soil micro-organisms. 

We have many additional online resources to help you unlock the secrets in the soil. You are always welcome to come visit us. With field offices located in almost every county in the country, conservation assistance is only a few steps away. www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted

"Anytime I see a fallow field it reminds me of dead soil, a dead environment."

North Dakota farmer Mike Zook manages 10,000 acres of productive cropland, all of it no-till. By using no-till methods he reaps the benefits of healthier soil, higher crop yields and a more robust ecosystem above and below the ground.

Earth Day is tomorrow. To meet  sustainability and environmental challenges of the 21st Century, we must recognize the solutions at our feet.

A healthy Earth begins with healthy soil.

No cropping system is drought proof, but conservation practices can help farmers mitigate the effects of a dry year.  

With Earth Day 2014 coming up, this is the time to consider how we will meet challenges of the 21st Century. One of our greatest challenges is how to feed 9 billion+ people by 2050, when much of the Earth will be experiencing a warmer climate.

The solution is at our feet: healthy soil.

Healthy soil retains moisture and increases resiliency to drought. North Carolina State University’s Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton discusses how cover crops affect water dynamics through the life-cycle of the cash crop.

Visit www.nrcs.usda.gov to learn more about conservation and soil health.

When we use tillage, the soil ecosystem is disturbed on a massive scale. Purdue’s Dr. Eileen Kladivko* contrasts natural ecosystems with tilled systems and describes what we stand to lose when soils are tilled.

As Earth Day 2014 approaches we should look for solutions to 21st Century challenges, such as feeding 9 billion people by 2050, maintaining productive agriculture in a changing climate and conserving a healthy environment for future generations.

The solution is at our feet: healthy soil

Visit www.nrcs.usda.gov to learn more about conservation and soil health.

*Dr. Eileen Kladivko is a professor of Agronomy at Purdue University’s College of Agriculture in West Lafayette, Indiana. She holds a master’s degree in Agronomy from the same school, and a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin. She is currently focusing her research work on environmental quality maintenance and agricultural sustainability, and she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in soil physics.

Supporting the top agriculture producing county in the state, the Service Center in Harrisburg, Va. has the highest conservation workload of any service center in Virginia. A major reason for the success of the three-person office is its ability to recruit and manage Earth Team volunteers.

During the past year, five volunteers contributed more than 540 hours supplementing the field office staff’s work. The assisted with engineering designs for livestock water systems and concrete cleanout pads, soil testing and planning and layout of conservation practices.

The field office uses volunteers to complete projects, like tree plantings, that could have never happened without the combined teamwork of NRCS field staff, volunteers and partners.

The service center in Harrisburg, Va. is the 2014 winner of the Earth Team Chief’s Field Award for outstanding achievements. 

Learn more: nrcs.usda.gov/Volunteers

Supporting the top agriculture producing county in the state, the Service Center in Harrisburg, Va. has the highest conservation workload of any service center in Virginia. A major reason for the success of the three-person office is its ability to recruit and manage Earth Team volunteers.

During the past year, five volunteers contributed more than 540 hours supplementing the field office staff’s work. The assisted with engineering designs for livestock water systems and concrete cleanout pads, soil testing and planning and layout of conservation practices.

The field office uses volunteers to complete projects, like tree plantings, that could have never happened without the combined teamwork of NRCS field staff, volunteers and partners.

The service center in Harrisburg, Va. is the 2014 winner of the Earth Team Chief’s Field Award for outstanding achievements.

Learn more: nrcs.usda.gov/Volunteers

The 1985 Farm Bill requires farmers with highly erodible land who use certain USDA benefits to be in compliance by reducing soil erosion on cropland and reducing sedimentation to improve water quality. More than 300 requests for highly erodible land determinations came into the USDA Service Center in Washington County, Ind. in a two-month period. 

Earth Team Volunteer Levi Shelton donated more than 280 hours of volunteer time to help the NRCS staff complete determinations. Because of Shelton’s help, producers were able stay in compliance across USDA programs and continue receiving on time benefits.

The Washington County Service Center received this year’s Earth Team Chief’s Field Award for outstanding work.

Learn more: nrcs.usda.gov/Volunteers

The 1985 Farm Bill requires farmers with highly erodible land who use certain USDA benefits to be in compliance by reducing soil erosion on cropland and reducing sedimentation to improve water quality. More than 300 requests for highly erodible land determinations came into the USDA Service Center in Washington County, Ind. in a two-month period.

Earth Team Volunteer Levi Shelton donated more than 280 hours of volunteer time to help the NRCS staff complete determinations. Because of Shelton’s help, producers were able stay in compliance across USDA programs and continue receiving on time benefits.

The Washington County Service Center received this year’s Earth Team Chief’s Field Award for outstanding work.

Learn more: nrcs.usda.gov/Volunteers

Creating a conservation plan is the first step for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners wanting to work with NRCS on improving their land.

In Michigan, conservation plans were completed more quickly thanks to the help of a dedicated volunteer, Carissa Harcz. Harcz served 270 hours as an Earth Team volunteer, and the staff was able to help the recent college grad improve her skills.

It’s National Volunteer Week, and NRCS wants to recognize Harcz and the USDA service center in Tuscola County, Mich. for its contributions to the Earth Team program. Congratulations to this year’s Chief’s Field Award winner!

Learn more: nrcs.usda.gov/Volunteers

Creating a conservation plan is the first step for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners wanting to work with NRCS on improving their land.

In Michigan, conservation plans were completed more quickly thanks to the help of a dedicated volunteer, Carissa Harcz. Harcz served 270 hours as an Earth Team volunteer, and the staff was able to help the recent college grad improve her skills.

It’s National Volunteer Week, and NRCS wants to recognize Harcz and the USDA service center in Tuscola County, Mich. for its contributions to the Earth Team program. Congratulations to this year’s Chief’s Field Award winner!

Learn more: nrcs.usda.gov/Volunteers

This week NRCS is honoring Earth Team volunteers. Their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication are invaluable in helping us get conservation on the ground.

Chief’s Field Award, West Region – Glenwood Springs Service Center, CO

Working shoulder-to-shoulder with Earth Team volunteers, NRCS staff at the Glenwood Springs Service Center was able to remove invasive tamarisk from the borders of Mamm Creek and plant trees as part of a riparian buffer

Volunteers also assisted with presenting at the annual Small Acreage Management Workshop to teach landowners everything from beekeeping to rangeland management.

These projects are improving the Colorado River Corridor, protecting water quantity, quality and wildlife.

For their excellent work, they are the 2014 recipients of the Earth Team Chief’s Field Award.

This week NRCS is honoring Earth Team volunteers. Their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication is invaluable in helping us get conservation on the ground.

2014 Earth Team Chief’s Cup Award

For the second year in a row, Arkansas has won the Earth Team Chief’s Cup Award for outstanding coordination of volunteers in NRCS’ conservation work.

From creating maps of landowner resource concerns to implementing conservation practices on private lands, our volunteers are an integral part of the agency’s success. Every field office location in Arkansas proudly works with Earth Team volunteers and provides consistent training and support.

With excellent support from the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts management, a number of conservation projects can be quickly implemented to make bigger impacts for water quality and quantity in the watershed.

For this outstanding service, Arkansas is the winner of the NRCS Earth Team Chief’s Cup Award.              

In this photo (left to right):

·        Tamara Sneed, current Arkansas State Volunteer Coordinator

·        Mike Sullivan, State Conservationist and

·        Pat Hoeffken, Earth Team volunteer and former State Volunteer Coordinator

holding the 2014 Chief’s Cup award in Arkansas.

This week NRCS is honoring Earth Team volunteers. Their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication is invaluable in helping us get conservation on the ground.

Earth Team Partnership Award – Lake Fleming Wetlands/Outdoor Learning Area, Virginia

What used to be a mosquito infested, abandoned dumpsite behind the Gate City, Va. Middle and High School complex has been transformed into a living laboratory for students and a picturesque park for the community thanks to the hard work of student volunteers and a unique collaboration among individuals, businesses and the community and environmental organizations.

Over 60 volunteers, mostly middle and high school students, donated almost 4,000 hours to creating the natural wetland classroom. They provided the needed manual labor – picking up litter, removing brush, laying gravel and plank walkways, and building and installing bird houses and bat boxes. They also deepened the pond and stocked it with fish, created two rain gardens, and installed a shelter with seating and work areas for students. Volunteers continue to maintain the area including clearing brush, picking up trash and clearing walkways.

For the great work done here, the Lake Fleming group are the 2014 recipients of the Earth Team Partnership Award.

On farms and ranches, conservation practices help clean water and air and improve soil health. But what farmers and ranchers use on large fields and pastures can be applied to your backyard.
NRCS has 10 easy steps for enhancing your backyard while making it environmentally friendly. It’s everything from planting trees to using water wisely.

Learn more by visiting our Backyard Conservation website or ordering our free magazine.

On farms and ranches, conservation practices help clean water and air and improve soil health. But what farmers and ranchers use on large fields and pastures can be applied to your backyard.

NRCS has 10 easy steps for enhancing your backyard while making it environmentally friendly. It’s everything from planting trees to using water wisely.

Learn more by visiting our Backyard Conservation website or ordering our free magazine.

Pollinators fill our world with color, beauty and food.

Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce (learn more about pollinators here).

Unfortunately, pollinators are in trouble. Loss of habitat and forage is putting a lot of pressure on pollinating species. Conservation can help. 

NRCS is investing $3 million to improve pollinator health by providing safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. You can help pollinators by practicing conservation in your backyard.

To learn more, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov 

Conservation benefits all ages and species.
Productive land and a healthy environment can go hand-in-hand. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service works with owners and managers of land to increase production and sustainability through a variety of conservation practices.      
It’s easy to Get Started with NRCS.

Conservation benefits all ages and species.

Productive land and a healthy environment can go hand-in-hand. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service works with owners and managers of land to increase production and sustainability through a variety of conservation practices.      

It’s easy to Get Started with NRCS.