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Streamlined Process Helps Farmers Put Conservation on the Ground in Record Time

Posted by Ed Biggers and T.J. Wilson, Natural Resources Conservation Service in Conservation
May 29, 2015

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is always looking for ways to do things better -- whether it is how to conserve more soil on a farming operation or how to streamline internal business processes.

Recently, NRCS made vast improvements to its grants and agreements process making it easier, more timely and efficient for partners to work with us on locally-led conservation projects.

Through the Secretary of Agriculture's Signature Process Improvement Initiative, NRCS was given strategic direction to improve its grant and agreement process. NRCS not only rose to the challenge, the agency exceeded the projected 20 percent improvement goal by reducing the time needed to develop and award grant and agreement requests by 85 percent. Additionally, the new process resulted an 80 percent decrease in missing or incorrect information on grants and agreements.

Previously, a partner would wait an average of 60 days, from start to finish, before an agreement was finalized. Now, that same customer only has to wait nine days.

Streamlining this process gets conservation on the ground more quickly and uses the time of federal employees more efficiently. In the end, it’s a win for partners, agricultural producers and the local communities that benefit from the conservation projects they support.

These solutions are part of the Blueprint for Stronger Service, USDA’s proactive effort to reduce spending, streamline operations and cut costs. By stepping back and reconsidering our processes, we can save time, money and benefit many -- from producers to employees to partners to taxpayers. And, we won’t stop here.

Category/Topic: Conservation