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Agricultural Conservation Practices

Conservation practices help agricultural producers improve their environmental performance with respect to soil health, water quality, air quality, wildlife habitat, and greenhouse gas emissions. Implementing conservation practices builds on-farm climate resiliency that can help protect against unpredictable weather while sustaining agricultural productivity. Interested in learning more about implementing these practices on your operation? Reach out to RCD Project Manager, Conor Higgins, at

February cover crop

Cover crops are seasonal crops grown to cover the soil and may be incorporated into the soil later for enrichment. Farmers use cover crops (grasses, legumes, and forbs) to protect and improve the soil and are investments to improve soil health. They can help smother weeds, control pests, decrease erosion, enhance water availability, and increase biodiversity on the farm.


Whole Orchard Recycling

At the end of an orchard’s productive life, whole-orchard recycling (WOR)  is the on-site grinding and chipping of whole trees during orchard removal and incorporation of the chipped biomass into the topsoil prior to replanting.  Whole-orchard recycling provides an alternative to burning orchards or sending them to biomass power generation plants. Whole-orchard recycling is a sustainable method of tree removal that could enhance air and soil quality.


Compost pic from OSU College of Ag Sciences


On-farm compost application can improve soil moisture, water retention, increase soil organic matter, and more. Producing on-farm compost can benefit ranchers or farmers by improved nutrient cycling by converting agricultural waste materials into a soil amendment.


Equipment and Tractor Replacement

Older farm equipment often produces far more greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions than newer equipment with emission control technologies. Multiple programs provide funding to replace fully functional Non-Tier, Tier 1, or Tier 2 farm equipment with like Tier 4 final equipment, as designated by the U.S. EPA. 

To learn more about programs, click here to view the Equipment Replacement Handout.

All programs are competitive, and funding is never guaranteed. Applicants are subject to unique eligibility requirements for each program. Applicants will become ineligible to be reimbursed for new equipment if purchased prior to an agreement/contract being in place or if an agreement/contract is not followed.


For more information, contact Sara Lipschutz, NRCS Soil Conservationist at (530) 902-7282 or

  • Applications accepted year-round, must be submitted to the Woodland Service Center located at 221 W. Court St. STE 1, Woodland, CA 95695.
  • Funding selections are made 1-2x/federal fiscal year based on funding availability.
  • A complete application packet will include the CPA-1200 Application (available upon request), Baseline and Proposed Engine Forms (available upon request), two forms of Proof of Ownership (e.g., insurance records, tax depreciation schedules, bill of sale), minimum of 2 consecutive years of maintenance records, a quote for the new piece of equipment, and the Air Resources Board Executive Order for the new equipment (and existing equipment if Tier 1 or Tier 2).

For more information, contact or (530) 757-3650. 


Hedgerows along farm-edges provide a useful and attractive alternative to continuously scraping, spraying, and maintaining unfarmed areas of a field that would otherwise become sources of weeds. Hedgerows consisting of native trees and shrubs create wildlife habitat areas that attract beneficial insects and local birds while decreasing erosion, increasing water filtration and nutrient management. 


Pollinator Hedgerows: There's a Plan for That

A video from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service “Pollinator Hedgerows” is one of a series of videos on conservation from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The series is called “There’s a Plan for That”. This segment discusses the benefits of foraging plants for honeybees and other pollinators.

Carbon Farm Planning is a whole farm approach to optimizing carbon capture on working landscapes by implementing practices that improve the rate at which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored in plant materials and soils.  The process involves traditional whole-farm planning and resource assessment approaches with up to date climate science to develop a comprehensive, carbon-focused farm plan.


Other Conservation Practices