Conservation Cost Share Programs


Natural resources districts have a statutory mission to conserve, protect, develop, and manage the natural resources of the state.

One way that the North Platte NRD accomplishes this goal is to work alongside landowners,  by cooperating with landowners and the state of Nebraska to provide conservation cost-share programs that combine the financial resources of landowners, the NRD, and the state to provide financial incentives to landowners to protect soil, water, and other resources for the general welfare.

Most of these programs reimburse landowners for a portion of the costs they incur in making improvements that protect resources. These programs include:

  • Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Cost-Share Program (NSWCP)
  • Nebraska Buffer Strip Program
  • Panhandle No-Till Partnership

Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Cost-Share Program (NSWCP)

Funded by both District money and the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Fund, the Conservation Cost-Share Program reimburses landowners for part of the cost of installing various conservation practices on their land. The cost-share rate is 50 percent of the actual costs up to a set amount with an overall $5000 limit. Landowners contact the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for technical assistance in implementing these practices. 

Conservation Practices

  • Irrigation water management
  • Planned grazing systems
  • Windbreaks
  • Terrace systems & underground outlets
  • Water impoundment dams
  • Grade stabilization structures
  • Irrigation tailwater recovery pits
  • Water & sediment control basins
  • Grassed waterways
  • Diversions
  • Livestock water runoff dugouts
  • Range seeding or pasture planting
  • Critical area planting
  • Underground irrigation water return pipe
  • Livestock water facilities
  • Streambank stabilization

Get a Full List of Cost-Share Practices 

Farm Bill 

The main instrument of the NRCS is the 2018 Farm Bill and related programs.

Farm Bill Programs

The North Platte NRD works closely with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to help find solutions to natural resource issues. Check with the local USDA and NRD for availability:

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to maintain and improve natural resources.  Traditional practices, as well as fisheries habitat improvement, are emphasized.
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)– Under Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) a part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) program.  Assists landowners who want to enhance existing wetlands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner.  Participant options include both: cost-share agreements and permanent easements.
  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
  • Continuous -CRP

Farm Bill News & Deadlines   Nebraska NRCS Office & Programs

Nebraska Buffer Strip Program

Landowners can enroll cropland adjacent to streams and other bodies of water in the Nebraska Buffer Strip Program by signing up at local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices.

The program provides annual, per-acre payments to landowners who plant buffer strips along the banks of streams and ponds. Buffer strips can reduce the amount of silt and agricultural chemicals that enter surface waters. Payments are available for new buffer strips and existing buffer strips established after January 1, 1996.

The NRCS will evaluate each application to determine eligibility and payment amount. If the NRCS determines an application to be eligible and the application is approved by the NRD and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), the producer may enter into a contract with the local natural resources district. Funding is determined on a point system established by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

The Nebraska Buffer Strip Program was created by the Nebraska Legislature in 1998 and is funded through the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Fees assessed on all pesticides registered for use in Nebraska fund the program.

Here are some of the general terms of the Buffer Strip Program. Contracts must run for at least five years, but no more than 10 years.

  • Non-irrigated cropland rates are determined using the CRP rental rates for soil types found in the area. Irrigated rates are a flat rate of $150 per acre, regardless of soil type or geographic location. Other program payments are subtracted from the maximum payment allowed to determine the Nebraska Buffer Strip Program (NBSP) payment.
  • Limited haying and grazing are allowed.
  • Buffer strips can include grass, forb, tree, and shrub species according to NRCS guidelines.
  • Buffer strips will be between 20 feet and 180 feet wide.
  • The minimum buffer strip area is 1 acre; there is no maximum.
  • The NRD will inspect buffer strips to ensure compliance during the five to 10-year contract period.

Read More about the NE Buffer Strip Program

View Mark Watson's Weekly No-Till Notes 


The Panhandle No-Till Partnership was formed in 2008 as a joint effort between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the  Panhandle Resource Conservation & Development, Inc. (RC&D), and the  North Platte NRD, South Platte NRD, and Upper Niobrara-White NRD. 

Additional Conservation Cost Share Information

For sign-up information on any of these Cost-Share programs, contact the North Platte NRD at (308) 632-2749.

Note: The cost-share programs of the North Platte Natural Resources District, such as conservation trees, cost-share, and others, are available only within the North Platte NRD.

Our Partners

The North Platte NRD often works with other agencies and organizations to implement projects and programs, including:

Additional Partners


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