An aerial view of a Pettis County terrace with water nearby.

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 program's main responsibility is to assist the 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 landowners and operators, working with state and federal conservation partners. 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.

The Soil and Water Conservation Program assists farmers and landowners with soil and water conservation by providing partial reimbursement for a number of management practices. These voluntary practices are designed to address areas such as grazing, irrigation, groundwater, surface water, woodland, pest and nutrient management, animal waste 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.

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%, 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 Missouri. Since the first 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.

Meet the Director - Jim Plassmeyer

Jim Plassmeyer, Soil and Water Conservation Program Director

Jim Plassmeyer is the Soil and Water Conservation Program Director for the department's Missouri Geological Survey, effective June 16, 2022. Jim has been serving the program for over 25 years, most recently as an Environmental Program Manager. Jim has extensive experience, leading and participating in most areas of the program.

Jim has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Jim is also a graduate of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Leadership Ladder program and the Agriculture Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT) program.