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Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is a unique program that is led by local volunteer councils that help people care for and protect their natural resources in a way that improves the local economy, environment and living standards.  RC&D is a way for people to work together to plan and carry out activities that will make their areas a better place to live.

The RC&D Program consists of 375 RC&D Councils nationwide.  Each RC&D Council is organized and directed by local people to meet local needs.  The RC&D Program identifies and solves problems in rural communities that include human, economic and environmental issues.  RC&D addresses local problems by obtaining assistance from the private sector, corporations, foundations and all level of government.

Resource Conservation and Development is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture.  It was created by a provision of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962.  The Secretary of Agriculture gave Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS - formerly Soil Conservation Service) responsibility for administering the program.  RC&D is based on the assumption that local citizens, with help provided through the USDA, can develop and carry out an action oriented plan for the social, economic and environmental enrichment of their communities.

The Secretary of Agriculture, through authorities delegated to the NRCS and other USDA Agencies, makes available the technical and financial assistance to operate and maintain an RC&D area to states, local units of governments, and local nonprofit organizations.  This assistance is available from NRCS to implement projects adopted by the local RC&D Area Council.  These funds are to be used to assist councils in carrying out their area plans.

The purpose of RC&D is to promote conservation, development and utilization of natural resources; to improve the general level of economic activity; and to enhance the environmental and standard of living in all communities.  The aim is to provide a system of rural development, encourage the wise use of natural resources, and improve the quality of life in America.

The RC&D Program is based on a number of concepts that make it a truly unique government program.  These concepts include:

  • The value of public/private partnerships in making the best use of limited resources.

  • The value of grassroots involvement in making decisions about local areas.

  • Bringing USDA Agencies together to focus on the same problems and opportunities.

  • Leveraging limited federal dollars with private funds to accomplish goals.

  • Working toward the goal of community sustainability.

  • Achieving a balance between rural economic development and natural resources protection.





 Last Modified: 01/17/2014