A Long History of Conservation Ag in America

In 1914, the Smith Lever Act enabled the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and land-grant universities to collaborate, delivering research and education to help farmers.  Efforts to assist producers in their stewardship of soil, water and air became a major focus of the USDA in the 1930s following the Dust Bowl. The passage of the Soil Conservation Act on April 27, 1935, led to the formation of the Soil Conservation Service, today known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS.

Efforts to help farmers in their stewardship of soil, water and air became a major focus of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1930s following the Dust Bowl. The passage of the Soil Conservation Act on April 27, 1935, led to the formation of the Soil Conservation Service, today known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS.

The conservation agriculture movement can be traced to the early 1980s, when a small group of ag and environmental organizations, led by former NRCS Chief Norm Berg at American Farmland Trust, formed the “Conservation Coalition” and incorporated a Conservation Title into the 1985 Farm Bill.

Today, dozens of organizations are working across the U.S. on hundreds of projects and programs to support farmers through information, education, coalition building, technical assistance, financial incentives and more. America’s Conservation Ag Movement seeks to celebrate and accelerate these important efforts, advancing a new wave in conservation agriculture.

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