Soil & Water Conservation Program

The Soil and Water Conservation Program (SWCP) provides financial incentives to landowners to implement conservation practices that help prevent soil erosion and protect water resources. By promoting good farming techniques that help keep soil on the fields and waters clean, the program helps conserve the productivity of Missouri’s working lands.

News from the Soil and Water Conservation ProgramCheck here for the latest news about soil and water conservation activities in Missouri.



2013 Poster Contest Winners

The annual National Conservation Poster Contest provides kindergarten through twelfth grade students with an opportunity to share their thoughts about soil, water and related issues. It also highlights the educational efforts of the local soil and water conservation districts. Thirty-seven counties in Missouri participated in this year's event, sponsored by the Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. These posters were selected as the state winners because they best convey the idea of the theme, Where does your water shed. The posters then advance to the national competition, sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts. More...   Previous winners...

2014 Missouri Envirothon is Thursday, May 1 in the Mexico, MO area

Missouri Envirothon logo
Young minds thrive on challenges. The Missouri Envirothon is a fun, academic event designed to cultivate a desire to learn more about our natural environment through competitive events. For 16 years, high school students in Missouri have been challenged to think critically about the natural world and their roles in it.

This year the 2014 Missouri Envirothon will be held on Thursday, May 1 at the Audrain County 4-H Center in Mexico, MO. Students will compete at five outdoor stations:

and also give a 10-minute oral presentation to a panel of three judges about this year’s issue of Sustainable Local Agriculture/Locally Grown.

More information about this year’s event is available at

2013 - Pembroke Hill High takes Third Place at 2013 North American Envirothon
A five-member team of high school students from Pembroke Hill High in Jackson County took third place at the 2013 North American Envirothon. The Envirothon is a week-long environmental education competition.  Learn more.

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Missouri Envirothon Video
Pembroke High School wins 1st place at 2013 Missouri Envirothon.
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Assistance offered by the Soil and Water Conservation Program includes:

Picture of a farm field. Cost-Share Program

This program provides incentives for landowners to install conservation practices that prevent or control excessive erosion and protect water quality. Landowners can receive up to 75 percent of the estimated cost of the practice to be reimbursed after the practice has gone through a certification process. For your convenience we have information on how to begin a cost-share practice, online.

Picture of a person in a farm field. Agricultural Nonpoint Source Special Area Land Treatment (AgNPS SALT) Program

These long-term projects focus on decreasing agricultural nonpoint source pollution in watersheds. AgNPS SALT uses watershed planning to reach goals established to decrease sediments, pesticides and nutrients entering waterways.

Picture of farmers. District Grants

Each of the 114 soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) in Missouri receives a district grant to hire personnel, fund technical assistance and provide information and education programs.

The department’s Soil and Water Conservation Program also provides funding for university research, district benefits and administrative costs. The program receives no general revenue funding for soil and water conservation efforts.

Picture of farm equipment in a field. Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative

The Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, or MRBI is a 12-state effort funded by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to address nutrient loading in the Mississippi River Basin from its source in Minnesota to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico. Among other water quality problems, agricultural runoff and other sources of nutients ultimately contribute to a lack of oxygen downstream in the so-called "dead zone" near where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

In summer 2010, the department coordinated development of project proposals from Missouri soil and water conservation districts for the MRBI. Proposals resulted in 12 Missouri projects being awarded $6 million in 2010 and $28.3 million in funding over the next four years. The federal funds will be used along with state, local, and private funds to provide cost-share payments to help agricultural producers install conservation practices to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff from agricultural land.


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Mission Statement

The mission of the Soil and Water Conservation Program is to administer the policies and general programs developed by the Soil and Water Districts Commission for the saving of Missouri soil and water through the soil and water conservation districts in their work with landowners.

The primary funding for these cost-share practices comes from the one-tenth-of-one-percent parks, soils and water sales tax, which is shared by the Department of Natural Resources’ Soil and Water Conservation Program and the Division of State Parks.