What is a Soil Conservation District?

A soil conservation district is made up of landowners and farmers called cooperators.  These members join together voluntarily in planning for and controlling soil erosion, sedimentation, and flooding; as well as managing animal wastes, fertilizers, and agricultural chemicals to protect farmland and water quality.

Districts function independently under the supervision of the district board of supervisors, which may receive guidance from the State Soil Conservation Committee as provided by the Annotated Code of Maryland. Districts are usually funded through a variety of sources, including federal, state, and county appropriations, grants, fees for special services, and contributions from local sources. All income is used to promote conservation and stewardship of natural resources.

District offices illustrate the unique three-way partnership which enables districts to function. Employees of a district are usually a mixture of federal, state and local (district) employees, all working together toward one common goal. They share office space, are supervised by the board of supervisors, and perform their duties as a team. The team is usually made up of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and district employees funded by local and state governments.

In addition to this three-way partnership, there are several other agencies, groups etc. which are vital members of the conservation team. It is important that you know them and that you recognize the full scope of district responsibilities and authority given a district supervisor.