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The Modern Farmer and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service

Posted by Elisa O'Halloran, National Webmaster, Natural Resources Conservation Service in Conservation
Mar 31, 2014
The Get Started page is a new addition to the NRCS website, and it provides the steps to assistance.
The Get Started page is a new addition to the NRCS website, and it provides the steps to assistance.

For generations, children have been singing about the farmer, his wife and kids, and even the mouse and the cheese. But today, a modern farmer is more likely to be using the mouse on his computer (or more realistically, a smartphone or tablet) than dancing around a small wooded valley with his family and farm animals.

The website of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service,, has been evolving to keep pace with the needs of today’s farmer. Our mission is to provide American farmers, ranchers and other visitors with the tools and resources they are looking for on a site that is easy to use and navigate.

The most effective websites combine clear and readable text, usability, functionality and simple navigation. We write the text for targeted audiences, which for us includes farmers and ranchers as well as people who use our online tools, such as Web Soil Survey, PLANTS database and COMET-FarmTM.

Recently, we created a new Get Started with NRCS page. This new webpage helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners learn how they can make improvements to their land with conservation.

This webpage provides the five steps to getting assistance from NRCS, so that farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can know about the process of applying for assistance from the comfort of their own home, barn, tractor or wherever else they hop online.

Also, we want to point you to our revamped About NRCS and Drought Resources pages as well as our newly created Resources for Small Farms page. About NRCS provides an overview of what NRCS offers, including those popular tools that bring many visitors to our website.

Drought Resources houses information on assistance and resources that can help farmers and ranchers be more resilient to drought. And finally, the Resources for Small Farms page pulls together information and resources that may be of interest to owners and managers of smaller farms, such as information on organics and seasonal high tunnels.

We use a number of tools to help us create these pages, including site traffic and customer experience information. We’ve found that more than 61 percent of people coming to our website were new visitors, many of whom were farmers, ranchers and forest landowners looking for information on conservation programs.

We have about 13,000 visits per day on the NRCS website, and some of our most popular pages deal with soils, Web Soil Survey and Farm Bill.

We hope you enjoy these new and revamped pages, and we welcome feedback on how we can improve our “digital” service center. We’re excited to have the opportunity to help you get started with NRCS!

Category/Topic: Conservation