The Soil and Water Conservation Program administers the policies and general programs developed by the Missouri Soil and Water Districts Commission for saving soil and protecting water quality on agricultural lands.
The primary responsibility of the program is to assist a soil and water conservation district in each of Missouri’s 114 counties as they promote voluntary soil and water conservation to their constituents. The districts provide financial incentives, technical assistance, education and best practices to agricultural land- owners and operators, working with state and federal conservation partners.
The Soil and Water Conservation Program assists farmers and landowners with soil and water conservation by providing partial reimbursement for a number management practices. These voluntary practices are designed to address areas such as grazing, irrigation, woodland, pest and nutrient management, animal waste, ground and surface water, and soil erosion. With 50 different practices available, the Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Program can help farmers and landowners with a variety of common issues.
Other program activities include administering district grants and educational programs. The program provides direct assistance to the county soil and water conservation districts through grants and training that support district staff and other administrative expenses.
Missouri citizens have shown strong support for soil and water conservation and state parks by passing a one-tenth-of-one percent Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax. The tax was first approved by voters in 1984, and has since been reapproved by at least two-thirds of Missouri voters in 1988, 1996 and 2006. In 2016, the tax was approved by 80 percent, passing in every county. Half of the sales tax is deposited in the Soil and Water Sales Tax Fund for saving soil and protecting the water resources of the state of Missouri. Since the initial passage of the Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax, Missouri has prevented more than 179 million tons of soil erosion improving the state’s water quality and keeping farmland productive.
The program also administers Missouri’s Nonpoint Source Management Program, which includes providing Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grants, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to eligible entities to help restore and protect Missouri waters that have been impaired or threatened by nonpoint source pollution.