NRCS 2004 Annual Performance Report

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NRCS 2004 Annual Performance Report Powered By Docstoc
					                Fiscal Year 2004:
United States
Department of
Agriculture


Natural
Resources
                Performance Report
Conservation
Service




                                     
Inside Cover Photo
Cattle grazing on a hillside in Kansas at sundown.

Cover Photos
1. Contour stripcropping in edford County, Pennsylvania (small photo, first on the left)
2. Washoe Lake wetlands area, Washoe County, NV (small photo, second from the left)
3. NRCS employees inventorying a pasture site near Wasilla, AK (small photo, second from the right)
4. Restored wetland in edford County Pennsylvania (small photo on right)
5. Contour stripcropping in Maryland (photo on bottom)


fIscAl	yeAr	2004	PerformAnce	rePort
United States
Department of   IntroductIon	                                                                                              1
Agriculture
                About	the	Agency	                                                                                          2
Natural
                PerformAnce	results	overvIew	                                                                              4
Resources
Conservation      Strategic Goal 1 – Enhance the productive capacity of soil and
Service                              water resources ...................................................................4
October 2005      Strategic Goal 2 – Reduce unintended adverse effects of natural resource
                                           development and use ........................................................10
                  Strategic Goal 3 – Reduce risks from drought and flooding .............................14
                  Strategic Goal 4 – Deliver high quality services to the public ............................16


                mAnAgement	strAtegIes	                                                                                   19
                  NRCS Conservation Bootcamp ........................................................................19
                  NRCS Reorganization ......................................................................................19
                  President’s Management Agenda ....................................................................19


                PerformAnce	mAnAgement	&	QuAlIty	AssurAnce	                                                              21
                  FY 2004 Performance Data .............................................................................21
                  Performance Planning for FY 2005 ..................................................................21
                  Performance Management Components.........................................................21
                  Evaluating Program Performance ....................................................................21
                  Program Assessment Rating Tool .....................................................................22
                  Customer Satisfaction .....................................................................................22




                                                                                                                               i
ii
IntroductIon

               T      he Government Performance
                      and Results ct of 1993 man-
                      dated that each agency of the
                      Executive Branch prepare a
               5-year Strategic Plan and nnual Per-
               formance Plan and Report based on
               the Strategic Plan. This is the sixth
                                                            care for the land with the assistance and
                                                            support from NRCS, and the conserva-
                                                            tion partners such as local Conservation
                                                            Districts, State Conservation gencies,
                                                            Resource Conservation and Develop-
                                                            ment Councils, Tribal governments, and
                                                            volunteers. Contributions of the partner-
               Natural Resources Conservation Service       ship are included in the accomplishment
               (NRCS) nnual Performance Report.            data throughout the report. The charts,
                  This document summarizes the              graphs, and maps in this report are based
               agency’s fiscal year (FY) 2004 perfor-       on performance reported in the NRCS
               mance in relationship to conservation        Performance and Results System (PRS)
               goals established in the NRCS Strategic      from October 1, 2003, to September 30,
               Plan (2003 Update) and the NRCS Per-         2004. The “Performance Results Over-
               formance Plan for FY 2004. Most annual       view” summarizes annual progress toward
               performance targets were achieved. The       the long-term goals identified in our Stra-
               progress that has been made can be attrib-   tegic Plan. Only NRCS employees were
               uted to the hard work and commitment         involved in the preparation of this report.
               of many people – those that work and




                                                      Cattle graze on well-managed rangeland near Tucson, AZ.

                                                                                                           1
About	the	Agency	
NRCS Responsibilities                          technical guides, conducts resources               Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitat
                                               inventories, and provides assistance to            Incentives Program, Wetlands Reserve
s the lead Federal agency for con-            individuals and communities to plan                Program, Biomass Program, and
servation of natural resources on pri-         and manage their natural resources.                gricultural Management ssistance
vate land, NRCS is responsible for:                                                               Program. ll of the programs help par-
                                           ◆ The Resource Conservation and                        ticipants plan and apply conservation
◆ Helping individual land users to           Development Program (RC&D)                           to the land and provide financial assis-
  plan, apply, and maintain conserva-        The RC&D Program provides techni-                    tance or incentives. In FY 2004, NRCS
  tion systems that are economically         cal assistance to Resource Conserva-                 posted state ranking criteria for NRCS
  and environmentally sustainable.           tion and Development Councils to                     programs on the web for public access.
                                             plan, develop, and carry out projects
◆ ssisting units of government and          that address land conservation, water               Figure 1 shows the distribution
  community groups to protect the            management, community develop-                   of NRCS staff years across major
  environment and improve the stan-          ment, and land management.                       program groups in FY 2004.
  dard of living and quality of life
  for the people they represent.           ◆ Water Resources - Five water resource
                                             programs exist (Emergency Watershed              NRCS Activities
◆ Conducting inventories and assess-         Protection, Flood Prevention Opera-
  ing natural resource conditions and        tions, Small Watershed Operations,               The primary services provided by staff
  making this information available          Watershed Planning, and Watershed                in NRCS field offices are assistance in
  to the public for use in individual        Rehabilitation) which focus on restor-           developing conservation plans, and apply-
  and community resource planning.           ing the health of watersheds through             ing and maintaining the conservation
                                             a comprehensive planning approach.               practices called for in those plans. The
◆ Developing and maintaining conser-         These programs assist communities                services NRCS technical staffs provide
  vation standards, specifications, and      to protect watersheds from dam-                  to our customers produce the conserva-
  guidelines pertaining to conserva-         age caused by erosion, flood water,              tion accomplishments reported here.
  tion practices and water management        and sediment, and to conserve and                   For example in FY 2004, NRCS
  systems and making this technology         develop water and land resources.                employees spent most of their time
  available to those who need it.                                                             on providing planning assistance (20
                                           ◆ Farm Bill Programs - NRCS adminis-               percent) and on application and main-
◆ Outreach to customers stakeholders,        tered Farm Bill programs include the             tenance (17 percent). These figures on
  and partners, with special emphasis on     Conservation Security Program, Envi-             time spent by NRCS employees were
  meeting the needs of tribes, minority      ronmental Quality Incentives Program,            followed by 16 percent for program and
  and traditionally underserved groups.      Klamath Basin, Ground and Surface                contract management and 13 percent
                                             Water Conservation, Farm and Ranch               for inventorying natural resources and
                                             Land Protection Program, Grasslands              developing new technology (Figure 2).
NRCS Programs

In FY 2004, NRCS activities were
                                           FIGURE 1. Distribution of NRCS staff years across major program groups in FY 2004.
funded through 20 programs, each
with its own authorizing legislation and
annual funding. These programs include:           Conservation                                                                  Resource
                                                    Operations                                                                  Conservation &
                                                         66%                                                                    Development
◆ Conservation Operations - The four                                                                                            4%

  Conservation Operations Programs                                                                                              Water
  (Conservation Technical ssistance,                                                                                           Resources
                                                                                                                                Programs
  Soil Survey, Snow Survey and Water                                                                                            5%
  Supply Forecasting, and Plant Materi-
  als) are the core support for all NRCS
  programs and activities. The Conser-
  vation Technical ssistance (CT)                                                                                             Farm Bill
                                                                                                                                Programs
  Program provides the infrastructure                                                                                           25%
  through which NRCS provides
  assistance to conservation districts,
  develops technical standards and         Source: FY 2006 Budget Explanatory Notes


2
                                                                                                                                                About	the	Agency…	


Partnerships                                                              In FY 2004, many new                                   cal assistance funds through TSPs by
                                                                       organizations partnered with NRCS                         $9.2 million, with 85 percent through
NRCS enhances conservation services                                    ranging from environmental and public                     Farm Bill technical assistance monies,
to farmers and ranchers and the general                                interest organizations to non-profit                      11 percent through the Conservation
public through partnerships, volun-                                    and non-governmental organizations.                       Technical ssistance Program, and
teers, and technical service providers.                                                                                          4 percent through Water Resources.
                                                                    ◆ Technical Service Providers (TSPs)                         The TSP process was authorized by
◆ NRCS is a member of Federal, State,                                 augmented the agency work force with                       the 2002 Farm Bill as a strategy for
  and local partnerships dedicated                                    resource conservation professionals                        increasing the availability of technical
  to natural resource conservation.                                   certified by NRCS, both the private                        assistance to implement the greatly
  The core partners include conserva-                                 and public sectors. In FY 2004, there                      increased investment in conservation
  tion districts (local units of govern-                              were approximately 1,800 certified                         mandated by the Farm Bill. TSPs are
  ment), RC&D Councils and State                                      TSPs available to provide service.                         non-USD technical specialists who
  conservation agencies. Over 8,000                                   NRCS enlisted the assistance of thir-                      are certified to NRCS standards to
  employees of State agencies and                                     teen professional and educational                          deliver conservation technical services
  conservation districts work jointly                                 organizations in encouraging private                       to farmers and ranchers participating
  with over 8,700 NRCS field staff                                    sector professionals to become TSPs.                       in USD conservation programs.
  in an integrated Federal, State, and
  local conservation delivery system.                               ◆ In FY 2004, producers and NRCS                           ◆ More than 40,600 Earth Team Volun-
     NRCS also works closely with 375                                 field offices selected technical service                   teers across the nation donated nearly
  local RC&D Councils - non-profit                                    providers (TSPs) to assist on about                        1 million hours in over two-thirds of
  entities whose members represent                                    3,300 projects, in their planning,                         NRCS offices nationwide. The work
  units of government and civic                                       19 percent; designing, 65 percent;                         contributed by volunteers was valued
  organizations within an identified area.                            installing, 9 percent; or inspecting,                      at approximately $16.6 million.
     Other partners include flood                                     7 percent of conservation practices.
  control and water management                                        Nutrient management accounted
  districts, irrigation districts, fire and                           for 36 percent of projects; general                        Technical Service
  water management districts, Federal                                 conservation planning, 33 percent;                         Providers (TSPs)
  agencies, Land Grant Universities,                                  irrigation or water conveyance and
  and private sector organizations.                                   storage, 11 percent; and pesticide                         When a dairyman contacted an NRCS
  NRCS also works with Tribal                                         and contaminant management, 10
                                                                                                                                 field office in Utah for help with con-
  governments in a government-                                        percent. NRCS surpassed its goal of
  to-government relationship.                                         expending $40 million in techni-                           struction of an animal waste manage-
                                                                                                                                 ment system, he learned that a TSP
FIGURE 2. Use of NRCS time in FY 2004.                                                                                           could provide the engineering services
Staff Years                                                                                                                      he needed. NRCS encouraged a local
3000
                                                                                                                                 engineer to complete the process to
2500          20%                                                                                                                become a certified TSP. The local engi-
                            17%                                                                                                  neer had worked as a professional
2000                                       16%
                                                                                                                                 engineer for 13 years and operated her
                                                          13%
1500                                                                                                                             consulting business from a farm she
                                                                                                     11%
                                                                                                                   9%
                                                                                                                                 and her husband owned. According
1000                                                                     7%
                                                                                        7%
                                                                                                                                 to this dairy farmer, “producers, able
 500                                                                                                                             to personally select their own techni-
                                                                                                                                 cal service providers, are more likely
    0
           Planning     Application &    Program &      Science &      Training   Communications Management Admin. Support       to be satisfied with the results.”
          Assistance    Maintenance       Contract     Technology                   & Relations & Supervision Infrastructure
                                        Management                                                               Activities
        Source: NRCS Conservation Information System


                                                                                                                                                                           3
PerformAnce	results	overvIew
                                                    Annual Progress in Protecting                         toward sustainable resource manage-
Strategic Goal 1                                    Cropland, Grazing Land, and                           ment by measuring the acreage of land
                                                    Forest Land                                           on which producers develop conserva-
Enhance the productive                                                                                    tion plans and, more importantly, the
                                                    Privately owned cropland, grazing land,               acreage on which they apply conserva-
capacity of soil and water                          and forest land form the foundation of                tion systems and practices with NRCS
                                                    a substantial and vibrant agricultural                assistance. The conservation systems
resources to enable a                               economy that provides food and fiber                  applied in FY 2004 will protect the
                                                    for the Nation. Conservation helps                    natural resource base for years to come.
strong agricultural and                             maintain the productive capacity of                      In FY 2004, NRCS assisted farmers
                                                    these lands so that they can continue                 and ranchers protect and enhance the
natural resource sector                             to support healthy and productive                     productivity of cropland, grazing land,
                                                    plant, animal and human conditions.                   and forest land. In addition, NRCS
                                                       NRCS helps farmers, ranchers, and                  met or exceeded goals in this area.
                                                    forest landowners plan and apply con-                    NRCS helped farmers and ranch-
                                                    servation systems that assist them in                 ers develop nearly 145,000 conserva-
                                                    meeting their economic and environ-                   tion plans, covering 12.7 million acres
                                                    mental goals. NRCS tracks progress                    of cropland and more than 25 million


Table 1 – Goal 1            Enhance the productive capacity of soil and water resources to enable a strong agricultural and natural resource sector.

	                           Performance	                        fY2000	          fY2001	         fY2002		        fY2003			       fY2004			       fY2004	
	                           measures	                           actual				       actual	         actual			       actual	          Goal					      actual

maintain,	restore,	         cropland	where	                       13.2	           11.8	           13.0	           11.7	           10.8	           12.7	
and	enhance			              conservation	
the	productive			           systems	were		
capacity	                   planned,	
of	cropland	                millions	of	acres	
 	
	                           cropland	where		                      13.2	           12.6	           13.4	           10.8	           ne	             7.9	
	                           conservation		
	                           systems		
	                           were	applied,		
	                           millions	of	acres	
 	
	                           cropland	erosion		                    9.4	            7.6	            7.1	            6.0	            5.6	            5.9	
	                           reduction	applied,		
	                           millions	of	acres	

maintain,	restore,		        Grazing	land		                        17.6	           18.1	           21.5	           22.2	           19.1	           25.1	
and	enhance	the		           where	conservation	
productive			               systems	were	
capacity	                   planned,		
of	grazing	land	            millions	of	acres	
 	
	                           Grazing	land		                        14.7	           15.0	           18.5	           19.7	           19.4	           19.4	
	                           where	conservation		
	                           systems	were		
	                           applied,		
	                           millions	of	acres	

maintain,	restore,		        forest	land		                         1.03	           0.93	           0.88	           0.78	           0.61	           0.62	
and	enhance	the		           improvement,	
productive			               millions	of	acres	
capacity	
of	forest	land
NE   goal	not	established


4
                                                                                                                                                    Strategic Goal 1


acres of grazing land (Table 1, Figures 3,                cropland and Conservation Reserve Pro-                            Funding for Goal 1
4, 5 and 6). NRCS helped them apply                       gram (CRP) land and 4 percent of the
110,000 plans, which included erosion                     Nation’s rangeland and pastureland. In                            The conservation goals are achieved
control measures on 5.9 million acres                     FY 2004, 619,840 acres of forest land                             through a portfolio of NRCS programs.
of cultivated cropland, improving the                     improvement were applied (Figure 9).                              In FY 2004, NRCS managed 20 pro-
productive capacity on approximately                         Much of the assistance that                                    grams that served as tools to acceler-
7.9 million acres of cropland (Table 1,                   NRCS provides to producers is pro-                                ate application of conservation. Figure
Figures 3 & 7) and 19.4 million acres                     vided through the CT Program,                                    10 shows the relative contribution of
of grazing land (Table 1, Figures 5 &                     which is the source of the basic sci-                             NRCS programs to the funds expended
8). The land on which conservation was                    ence-based information and expertise                              on activities associated with Goal 1.
applied made up 2 percent of the Nation’s                 needed for sustainable resource use.

                                                                                                                              The Faces of the Moses
FIGURE 3. Cropland where conservation systems were planned and applied, millions of acres.                                    Coulee Watershed
16
                                                                                                                              The McLean family, Washington State’s
14          20%                                                                                                               first Conservation Security Program
12
                                                                                                                              (CSP) participant. CSP is a voluntary
                                                                                                                              program that recognizes good resource
10                                                                                                                            stewardship and provides financial
 8
                                                                                                                              and technical assistance to promote
                                                                               7%                                             further conservation and improvement
 6
                                                                                                                              of soil, water, air, energy, plant and
 4                                                                                                                            animal life, and other conservation
                                                                                                                              purposes on Tribal and private work-
 2
                                                                                                                              ing lands. The McLean’s qualified for
 0                                                                                                                            CSP through their use of conservation
              FY 2000                  FY 2001        FY 2002                  FY 2003                 FY 2004
                                                                                                                              practices, including direct seeding,
     Source: Performance Results System (PRS), 2004   Cropland where conservation systems were planned, millions of acres
                                                      Cropland where conservation systems were applied, millions of acres     prescribed grazing, annual soil testing,
                                                                                                                              precise nutrient application, reduced
                                                                                                                              pesticide application, integrated pest
                                                                                                                              management, using pest resistant plant
                                                                                                                              varieties, and noxious weed control. As
                                                                                                                              a result of their stewardship, years of
                                                                                                                              good conservation farming have left a
                                                                                                                              positive mark on the land that has been
                                                                                                                              in this family for more than a century.




                                                                                                                             The Faces of the Moses Coulee Watershed
Preserved farm in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

                                                                                                                                                                         5
PerformAnce	results	overvIew…                                                                                                                                                             Strategic Goal 1


FiGure 4. Cropland where conservation systems were planned.

                                                                                                                                                             INdICAtoR: Cropland where conservation
                                                                                                                                                             systems were planned.
                                                                                                                                                             tARGEt: 10,875,444 acres
                                                                                                                                                             ACtuAL: 12,726,076 acres
                                                                                                                                                             ANALySIS: The target was exceeded by 17 percent.
                                                                                                                                                             States in the Central Region led the way with nearly
                                                                                                                                                             65 percent of the reported acreage. Iowa, Kansas, Texas,
                                                                                                                                                             Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri,
                                                                                                                                                             South Dakota, and Wisconsin each contributed over
                                                                                                                                                             half a million acres. Iowa contributed more than
                                                                                                                                                             1.2 million acres.


    Hawaii




             Alaska


                                                                                                Acres
                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                    1 - 1,999
                             Pacific Basin
                                                                                                    2,000 - 9,999
                                                    Marshall Islands
    Palau         Northern
                  Marianas          Micronesia
                                                                                                    10,000 - 29,999        Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands

                                                    American Samoa

                      Guam
                                                                                                    30,000 or more
                                                                       Map ID:m8574


Source:	Performance	results	system	(Prs),	2004




FIGURE 5. Grazing land where conservation systems were planned and applied, millions of acres.

 30



 25



 20



 15
                                                                                                            7%


 10



    5



    0
                      FY 2000                        FY 2001                          FY 2002              FY 2003                    FY 2004
                                                 Grazing land where conservation systems were planned, millions of acres
                                                 Grazing land where conservation systems were applied, millions of acres
        Source: Performance Results System (PRS), 2004




6
                                                                                                                                                                       Strategic Goal 1


FiGure 6. Grazing land where conservation systems were planned.

                                                                                                                                           INdICAtoR: Grazing land where conservation systems
                                                                                                                                           were planned.
                                                                                                                                           tARGEt: 19,079,205 acres
                                                                                                                                           ACtuAL: 25,153,353 acres
                                                                                                                                           ANALySIS: The target was exceeded by 32 percent.
                                                                                                                                           Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado made up more than 50
                                                                                                                                           percent of the total reported performance.




 Hawaii




           Alaska


                                                                                  Acres
                                                                                      0
                                                                                      1 - 1,999
                           Pacific Basin
                                                                                      2,000 - 9,999
                                               Marshall Islands
   Palau       Northern
               Mariana            Micronesia                                          10,000 - 29,999    Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands

                                               American Samoa

                    Guam
                                                                                      30,000 or more
                                                                  Map ID: m8576


Source:	Performance	results	system	(Prs),	2004




FiGure 7. Cropland where conservation systems were applied.

                                                                                                                                           INdICAtoR: Cropland where conservation systems
                                                                                                                                           were applied.
                                                                                                                                           tARGEt: Not established
                                                                                                                                           ACtuAL: 7,878,135 acres
                                                                                                                                           ANALySIS: Iowa, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, North
                                                                                                                                           Dakota, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri account for
                                                                                                                                           more than 50 percent of the acreage reported.




 Hawaii




           Alaska


                                                                                  Acres
                                                                                      0
                                                                                      1 - 1,999
                           Pacific Basin
                                                                                      2,000 - 9,999
               Northern                        Marshall Islands
   Palau
               Marianas           Micronesia
                                                                                      10,000 - 29,999   Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands

                                               American Samoa

                    Guam
                                                                                      30,000 or more
                                                                  MapID: m8573


Source:	Performance	results	system	(Prs),	2004




                                                                                                                                                                                                   7
PerformAnce	results	overvIew…                                                                                                                                                  Strategic Goal 1


FiGure 8. Grazing land where conservation sytems were applied.

                                                                                                                                              INdICAtoR: Grazing land where conservation systems
                                                                                                                                              were applied.
                                                                                                                                              tARGEt: 19,368,474 acres
                                                                                                                                              ACtuAL: 19,474,928 acres
                                                                                                                                              ANALySIS: The target was met. States with sizable
                                                                                                                                              ranching operations, such as Colorado, Texas, Arizona,
                                                                                                                                              and New Mexico accounted for more than 50 percent of
                                                                                                                                              the reported performance.




 Hawaii




            Alaska


                                                                                   Acres
                                                                                       0
                                                                                       1 - 1,999
                            Pacific Basin
                                                                                       2,000 - 9,999
                                                Marshall Islands
    Palau       Northern
                Marianas           Micronesia
                                                                                       10,000 - 29,999   Puerto Rico/ U.S. Virgin Islands

                                                American Samoa

                     Guam
                                                                                       30,000 or more
                                                                   Map ID: m8575


Source: Performance	results	system	(Prs),	2004




FiGure 9. Forest land improvement applied.*

                                                                                                                                              INdICAtoR: Forest land where forest stand
                                                                                                                                              improvement was applied.*
                                                                                                                                              tARGEt: 611,340 acres
                                                                                                                                              ACtuAL: 619,840 acres
                                                                                                                                              ANALySIS: The target was exceeded by 1 percent.
                                                                                                                                              Forestry assistance was in particularly high demand
                                                                                                                                              in the southeastern States of Mississippi, Georgia,
                                                                                                                                              and the eastern edge of Texas.
                                                                                                                                              * Includes both “tree and shrub establishment applied”
                                                                                                                                              and “forest stand improvement applied.”




 Hawaii




            Alaska


                                                                                   Acres
                                                                                       0
                                                                                       1 - 500
                            Pacific Basin
                                                                                       501 - 1,999
                                                Marshall Islands
    Palau       Northern
                Marianas           Micronesia
                                                                                       2,000 - 14,999      Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgins Islands

                                                American Samoa

                     Guam
                                                                                       15,000 or more
                                                                   Map ID: m8577



Source:	Performance	results	system	(Prs),	2004




8
                                                                                                      Strategic Goal 1


Figure 10. NRCS Program support to Goal 1, by percent of total funds expended on Goal 1 activities.



       Conservation
          Technical                                                                     Farm Bill
         Assistance                                                                     Financial
               58%                                                                      Assistance
                                                                                        29%




                                                                                      Farm Bill
                                                                                      Technical
                                                                                      Assistance
                                                                                      13%




Source: FY 2004 Budget and Performance Integration
Data from NRCS FY 2006 Agency Estimate




                                                                                                                    9
PerformAnce	results	overvIew…



Strategic Goal 2
Reduce unintended
adverse effects of natural
                                P        roductive use of natural resources
                                         and protection of the environ-
                                         ment are compatible and mutu-
                                         ally supportive goals. chieving
                                these goals requires careful planning
                                and good management based on sound
                                science. NRCS helps both individual
                                                                                     munities. Through the Farm and Ranch
                                                                                     Land Protection Program (FRPP), NRCS
                                                                                     helped communities protect an estimated
                                                                                     135,000 acres of farmland from conver-
                                                                                     sion to nonagricultural uses (Table 2).


resource development            and agricultural producers and groups                Protecting water and air resources
                                and local governments ensure that                    from agricultural non-point
and use to ensure a high        activities related to development and                sources of impairment
                                uses of natural resources have a posi-
quality environment             tive impact on the environment.                      Some agricultural operations have the
                                                                                     potential to cause damage to the environ-
                                                                                     ment if not well managed. NRCS helps
                                Protecting natural resources                         producers apply erosion-control practices,
                                in developing areas and rural                        such as conservation buffers, and nutrient
                                communities                                          management practices, to reduce the risk
                                                                                     that sediment, phosphorus, and nitrogen
                                Strategies to protect the natural resources          will move from agricultural operations
                                in developing and rural communities                  into the environment. Reducing the
                                must be formulated at the local level                delivery of sediment and nutrients will
                                by the people who live there. NRCS                   result in improvements in resource health
                                provides local communities and gov-                  and environmental quality over time.
                                ernments with technical advice and                       Of special concern in parts of the
                                natural resources information to assist              Nation is the animal agriculture sec-
                                them in local resource planning and                  tor. nimal agriculture has transformed
                                managing growth. With that infor-                    from a land-based activity to a special-
                                mation, communities and govern-                      ized capital-intensive activity in which
                                ment entities are better positioned                  large numbers of animals are raised
                                to identify and pursue their goals.                  in small confined land areas. NRCS
                                    In FY 2004, NRCS helped communi-                 is directing increasing assistance to
                                ties to complete 3,358 RC&D projects to              help operators of animal operations.
                                improve the quality of life for rural com-




                                Wetlands in the prairie pothole region of northeastern South Dakota.

10
                                                                                                                                                                                Strategic Goal 2


Table 2 – Goal 2                        Reduce unintended adverse effects of natural resource development and use to ensure a high quality environment.

	                                       Performance	                                   fY2000		             fY2001		              fY2002			           fY2003			            fY2004			            fY2004	
	                                       measures	                                      actual			            actual			             actual			           actual		              Goal			             actual

Protect	                                farmland	and	                                    *	                   34.9	                98.5	                112	                 85	                 135	
farmland	from		                         ranchland		
conversion	to		                         protected	from		
non-agricultural		                      conversion	to		
uses.	                                  non-agricultural	
	                                       uses	under		
	                                       easements,	
	                                       1000s	of	acres	

Promote	sound		                         community	                                       na	                  3,043	               4,145	               4,254	               3,296	              3,358	
urban	and	rural		                       improvement	
community		                             projects	
development.	                           completed	
	                                       (rc&D	Program),		
	                                       number	

Protect	water		                         agricultural	land	                               4.3	                 5.4	                 5.5	                 5.0	                 ne	                 2.9	
and	air		                               where	practices	
resources	from		                        that	reduce	potential	
agricultural		                          for	nutrient	delivery	
non-point		                             were	applied,	
sources	of		                            millions	of	acres	
impairment.	                            	
	                                       comprehensive		                                  **	                  **	                  5,254	               4,860	               4,493	              6,287	
	                                       nutrient		
	                                       management	plans		
	                                       developed,	number	
 	
	                                       comprehensive		                                  **	                  **	                  3,380	               3,237	               3,288	              3,582	
	                                       nutrient		
	                                       management	plans		
	                                       applied,	number	

maintain,		                             Wetlands	created	                                0.29	                0.36	                0.38	                0.33	                0.25	               0.23	
restore,	or		                           or	restored,	
enhance	wetland		                       millions	of	acres	
ecosystems	and		
fish	and	wildlife		                     land	where	                                      12.3	                11.7	                12.5	                11.8	                4.8	                6.3	
habitat.	                               measures	to	
	                                       improve	wildlife		
	                                       habitat	were	applied,		
	                                       millions	of	acres	

NA	   data	not	available
NE	   goal	not	established
*     available	funding	was	limited	to	a	congressional	earmark	in	one	state.
**	   technical	guidance	for	comprehensive	nutrient	management	plans	(cnmP)	was	issued	for	fY	2002.	a	cnmP	is	a	conservation	plan	for	an	animal	feeding	operation	that	includes	all	of	the	conservation	
      practices	and	management	activities	needed	to	help	ensure	that	both	production	and	natural	resource	protection	goals	are	achieved.	a	cnmP	addresses	natural	resource	concerns	dealing	with	soil	erosion,	
      manure,	and	organic	by-products	and	their	potential	impacts	on	water	quality,	which	may	derive	from	an	animal	feeding	operation.	a	cnmP	is	developed	to	assist	the	owner/operator	in	meeting	all	
      applicable	local,	tribal,	state,	and	federal	water	quality	goals	or	regulations.




                                                                                                                                                                                                           11
PerformAnce	results	overvIew…


Protecting wetlands and                                                           Funding for Goal 2
wildlife habitat
                                                                                  Figure 12 shows the contribution of
The rural landscape provides critical                                             NRCS programs to the funds expended
habitat for much of the Nation’s wild-                                            on Goal 2 activities. Financial assistance
life. The extent and quality of habitat                                           provided through programs authorized by
have a substantial impact on the dis-                                             the 2002 Farm Bill provide nearly two-
tribution and abundance of wildlife.                                              thirds of total NRCS funding for reduc-
    Many of the conservation practices                                            ing unintended adverse effects of natural
that farmers and ranchers apply help                                              resource development and use to ensure
improve the habitat their lands provide                                           a high quality environment (Goal 2).
for wildlife. NRCS provides techni-
cal and financial assistance to protect
specific ecosystems and landscapes
– including wetlands, grasslands, flood-
plains, and certain types of forest. In
FY 2004, NRCS helped resource man-
agers apply nearly 6.3 million acres of
upland and wetland wildlife habitat
management (Table 2 and Figure 11).




FiGure 11. Land where measures to improve wildlife habitat were applied.

                                                                                                                                               INdICAtoR: Land where measures to improve wildlife
                                                                                                                                               habitat were applied.
                                                                                                                                               tARGEt: 4.8 million acres
                                                                                                                                               ACtuAL: 6.3 million acres
                                                                                                                                               ANALySIS: The goal was exceeded by 31 percent and
                                                                                                                                               includes both land on which wildlife is the primary and
                                                                                                                                               secondary concern.




 Hawaii




           Alaska


                                                                                      Acres
                                                                                           0
                                                                                           1 - 1,999
                           Pacific Basin
                                                                                           2,000 - 9,999
                                               Marshall Islands
   Palau        Northern
                Marianas          Micronesia
                                                                                           10,000 - 49,999   Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands

                                               American Samoa

                    Guam
                                                                                           50,000 or more
                                                                  Map ID: m8579


Source: Performance	results	system	(Prs),	2004



12
                                                                                                      Strategic Goal 2


FIGURE 12. NRCS Program support to Goal 2, by percent of total funds expended on Goal 2 activities.




                                                                               Conservation
                                                                               Technical
                                                                               Assistance
                                                                               12%

                                                                               Water Resources
                                                                               Programs
                                                                               4%

                                                                               Resource
                                                                               Conservation &
                                                                               Development
                                                                               4%

                                                                               Farm Bill
                                                                               Technical
                                                                               Assistance
           Farm Bill
                                                                               16%
           Financial
          Assistance
                64%



Source: FY 2004 Budget and Performance Integration Data
from NRCS FY 2006 Agency Estimate




                                                                                                                   13
PerformAnce	results	overvIew…



Strategic Goal 3
Reduce risks from
drought and flooding
                                                                     E       ach year, droughts and floods
                                                                             adversely affect farms, ranches,
                                                                             and communities, including
                                                                             public health and safety. Risks
                                                                     of flooding or drought can be reduced
                                                                     through comprehensive water resources
                                                                     planning. To manage water supplies well,
                                                                                                                                          existing structures approach the end of
                                                                                                                                          their design life. Due to rapid develop-
                                                                                                                                          ment across the Nation, there is a sig-
                                                                                                                                          nificant need to modify or rehabilitate
                                                                                                                                          existing floodwater retarding structures
                                                                                                                                          to protect life and property downstream.
                                                                                                                                             Indicators of success in helping pre-
to protect individual                                                people must work together to plan for a                              vent damages from floods and drought
                                                                     watershed as a whole. NRCS watershed                                 are the number of watershed infrastruc-
and community                                                        planners provide the technical assistance                            ture rehabilitation plans developed and
                                                                     communities need to do this effectively.                             implemented by local communities
health and safety                                                       Comprehensive water resources plan-                               and the extent of agricultural land with
                                                                     ning that reduces the risks of flooding or                           practices applied to address flooding
                                                                     drought is the focus of Strategic Goal 3.                            and water supply concerns (Table 3).
                                                                     NRCS provides the technical assistance                                  In FY 2004, NRCS helped local
                                                                     to communities to manage watersheds                                  sponsors complete 155 new flood con-
                                                                     effectively, as well as emergency assistance                         trol structures (Table 3). NRCS helped
                                                                     to reduce threats to life and property in                            land managers apply conservation
                                                                     watersheds damaged by natural disasters.                             systems to address flooding concerns
                                                                        The capacity of floodwater-retarding                              on 4.5 million acres as well as apply
                                                                     structures to prevent damages associated                             conservation systems to address water
                                                                     with flooding is of increasing concern as                            supply concerns on 8 million acres.


Table 3 – Goal 3                 Reduce risks from drought and flooding to protect individual and community health and safety.

	                                Performance	                                         fY2000			           fY2001			             fY2002			           fY2003			           fY2004			            fY2004	
	                                measures	                                            actual				          actual			             actual				          actual			            Goal				            actual

Protect	upstream	                Watershed	                                             *	                  *	                   18	                 16	                 14	                 9	
watersheds	from	                 infrastructure	
flood	risks.	                    rehabilitation	
	                                plans	developed,	
	                                number	
 	
	                                Watershed		                                            *	                  *	                   5	                  12	                 16	                 20	
	                                infrastructure		
	                                rehabilitation		
	                                plans	installed,		
	                                number	
 	
	                                flood	control		                                        na	                 51	                  79	                 60	                 107	                155	
	                                structures		
	                                completed,	number	
 	
 	
Protect	watersheds	              conservation		                                         1.3	                3.1	                 4.5	                5.1	                4.2	                4.5	
from	the	effects	of	             applied	to	address		
chronic	water	                   flooding	concerns,		
shortages	and	risks		            millions	of	acres	
from	drought.	
	                                conservation		                                         6.5	                8.6	                 8.5	                9.0	                7.4	                8.0	
	                                applied	to	address		
	                                water	supply		
	                                concerns,	millions		
	                                of	acres	

*	    funds	for	the	Watershed	rehabilitation	Program	were	first	appropriated	for	fY2002.	Pilot	projects	were	authorized	in	2000	and	2001	under	the	emergency	Watershed	Protection	Program.
NA			 data	not	available	


14
                                                                                                                                       Strategic Goal 3


   In the western United States, managing
the limited water supply is critical. NRCS                            Snow Survey and Water                      Navajo Nation makes
issued approximately 11,000 water supply                              Supply Forecasts bolster                   history with asaayi lake
forecasts for Federal, State, and local water                         Drought Monitoring                         Watershed Project
resources planning purposes. In FY 2004,
water users and managers requested snow                               Numerous parts of the United States        The Navajo Nation celebrated the
survey, water supply forecasts, and soil                              have suffered the effects of drought       first Public Law 83-566 Watershed
moisture data and products 4.4 million
times through the National Water and                                  during the past 5 years. The NRCS          Project completed on Tribal Lands
Climate website. NRCS also assisted land                              and USDA participate in a number           on September 17, 2004. The Navajo
managers in conserving 2.1 million acre-
inches of water while improving irrigation                            of drought-related efforts to reduce       Nation, Fort Defiance Soil and Water
water management on 686,000 acres.                                    the impact of drought on agriculture.      Conservation District, and the NRCS
                                                                      Snow Survey data and Water Supply          were partners in the $1.7 million project.
Funding for Goal 3                                                    Forecasts are used to construct a weekly      This project reduced erosion,
                                                                      Drought Monitor used by the USDA           improved irrigation, improved access
Figure 13 shows funds expended on Goal
3 activities by each NRCS group of pro-                               for county drought designations.           roads, and improved recreation facilities.
grams. Water Resources programs funds                                     Daily readings from the 704 sta-          Leaders of the Navajo Nation
largely address watershed-scale activities
                                                                      tions in the SNOTEL network provide        shared their joy in this project.
to help local groups and communities.
Farm Bill funds help individual produc-                               critical information used to deter-           “This is certainly a historic event,”
ers apply on-farm measures to conserve                                mine severity and spatial extent of        said the Chairman of the Navajo
and better manage water. The CT Pro-
gram is provided to individuals; groups;                              drought. The observed snow pack is         Nation Resources Committee. “We
and local, State, and tribal governments.                             used to predict spring and summer          have seen overgrazing and let that
The CT Program also provides basic
resources information and conservation                                stream flows for irrigation, power         happen. And that has led to erosion.
technology used by all NRCS programs.                                 generation, municipal water use, navi-     ut at this point in time, we have
                                                                      gation, and species management.            taken a step toward restoring Mother
                                                                                                                 Earth. We certainly cannot restore
                                                                                                                 Mother Earth without help from our
                                                                                                                 neighbors and Washington D.C.”
FIGURE 13. NRCS Program support to Goal 3, by percent of total funds expended on Goal 3 activities.


                                                                                                 Conservation
                                                                                                 Technical
            Farm Bill                                                                            Assistance
            Financial                                                                            15%
           Assistance
                 34%




                                                                                                                  Asaayi Lake


            Farm Bill
            Technical                                                                              Water
           Assistance                                                                              Resources
                 10%                                                                               Programs
                                                                                                   39%
         Snow Survey
                 2%
                                                                                                                  Irrigation
Source: FY 2004 Budget and Performance Integration Data from NRCS FY 2006 Agency Estimate


                                                                                                                                                            15
PerformAnce	results	overvIew…



Strategic Goal 4
Deliver high quality
services to the public
                                                N         RCS serves, either directly or
                                                          indirectly, the entire Nation.
                                                          NRCS employees respect the
                                                          dignity and worth of every
                                                person, treat all individuals fairly and
                                                equitably, listen to their views, and
                                                respond with assistance that is tailored to
                                                                                                  production. Competitive grants were
                                                                                                  awarded to eligible entities, including
                                                                                                  State and local agencies, non-governmen-
                                                                                                  tal organizations, Tribes, or individu-
                                                                                                  als. In Fiscal Year 2004, 41 projects in
                                                                                                  29 States received the inaugural CIG
                                                                                                  awards, for a total of $14.25 million.
to enable natural                               their needs and is technically accurate.

resource stewardship                                                                              delivering technical services
                                                Fair and equitable
                                                delivery of services                              NRCS employees and conservation
                                                                                                  partners provided technical assistance
                                                In FY 2004, NRCS employees and con-               to customers to develop nearly 145,000
                                                servation partners provided high quality          conservation plans and apply 110,000
                                                service to a diverse customer base. ll           conservation plans. NRCS released 14
     Greenhouse in                              actions were guided by a commitment to            new conservation plants for commercial
     afghanistan                                the principle that customers are entitled         or private use and prepared 124 plant
                                                to the best service NRCS can provide.             material technical documents (Table 4).
     Nearly 100 employees from NRCS served                                                        The gency has continued to keep cur-
                                                                                                  rent the list of National Conservation
     on assignments to 29 countries, includ-
                                                Conservation Innovation                           Practice Standards that help land owners
     ing Afghanistan, in FY 2004. In these      Grants (CIG)                                      and communities make decisions based
                                                                                                  on sound science. The technical standards
     activities, NRCS cooperated with the
                                                uthorized in the 2002 Farm Bill under            for soil science and soil survey, conserva-
     Department of State, U.S. Agency for       the Environmental Quality Incentives              tion engineering, plant science, and other
                                                Program, CIG is a voluntary program               specialties are recognized worldwide as
     International Development, Department
                                                intended to stimulate the development             the best in their field. NRCS distributed
     of Defense, other USDA Agencies, and       and adoption of innovative conserva-              more than 1 million publications from the
                                                tion approaches and technologies while            NRCS National Publication Distribution
     other non-governmental organiza-
                                                leveraging federal investment in envi-            Center/888-LNDCRE. In addition,
     tions. NRCS staff in Afghanistan work      ronmental enhancement and protec-                 over two-thirds of NRCS offices across the
                                                tion, in conjunction with agricultural            country had volunteers serving the public.
     on crop variety projects, greenhouses,
     water conservation and management,
     alternative livelihoods to replace poppy
     production, and training leaders in soil
     and water conservation techniques.



     PHOTO K




Greenhouse in Afghanistan
                                                Chairman of the Cheyenne Arapahoe Tribe in Oklahoma (right) planning with NRCS employees.

16
                                                                                                                                           Strategic Goal 4


                                                              FiGure 14. Soil Data Mart.
   During FY 2004, NRCS established
and populated the Soil Data Mart,
http://soildatamart.nrcs.usda.gov/.
The Soil Data Mart provides the public
easy Internet access to current, official
tabular and spatial soil survey informa-
tion (Figure 14). The data also serves
as a foundation for development of the
Web Soil Survey, which will be avail-
able on-line in FY 2005. The Web Soil
Survey will allow people to use soils
information on-line similar to tradi-
tional printed soil surveys, as well as
generate reports and download data.
   During FY 2004, NRCS and coopera-
tors digitized 339 soil surveys (Figure
15), bringing the overall cumulative total
of digitized and available soil surveys to
2,024 or about 70 percent of the approxi-
mately 2,900 completed soil surveys. 
map of SSURGO projects is available at
http://www.ncgc.nrcs.usda.gov/prod-
ucts/datasets/ssurgo/index.html.


Table – Goal 4                   Deliver high quality services to the public to enable natural resource stewardship.

	                                Performance	                             fY2000			        fY2001			      fY2002			    fY2003			    fY2004			    fY2004	
	                                measures	                                actual			        actual			      actual			    actual			     Goal			     actual

Deliver	services	                new	nrcs		                                 na	             4	              1	           0	           1	           1	
fairly	and		                     field	offices	
equitably.	                      established	on	
	                                reservation	land,		
	                                number	
 	
 	
 	
Develop	and		                    certified	soil	
maintain	technical		             surveys	available	
infrastructure.	                 in	digital	format,	number	                 238	            139	            288	         317	         315	         339	
	                                (cumulative	number)	                       (941)	          (1,080)	        (1,368)	     (1,685)	     (2,000)	     (2,024)	
 	
	                                soils	mapped	or		                          24,391	         24,365	         22,633	      22,500	      25,770	      28,000	
	                                soil	surveys	updated		
	                                in	the	fiscal	year,		
	                                1000s	of	acres	
 	
	                                new	plant	releases,		                      24	             24	             29	          20	          20	          14	
	                                number	
 	
	                                Plant	materials		                          na	             345	            273	         328	         170*	        124*	
	                                technology	transfer:		
	                                publications,		
	                                number	
 	
	                                conservation	plant		                       na	             na	             na	          na	          70%	         72%	
	                                releases	maintained,		
	                                (percentage)	

NA	   data	not	available
*	    technical	documents	only


                                                                                                                                                           17
PerformAnce	results	overvIew…


Biomass                                          ronmental and economic performance;                      Funding for Goal 4
                                                 biomass focused forest management
In FY 2004, NRCS funded 13 research              training, in support of Title II of the                  Figure 16 shows the contribution of
projects for more than $13 million under         Healthy Forest Restoration ct of 2003;                  NRCS programs to the funds expended
the Biomass Research and Develop-                and incentives. This research initiative                 on Goal 4. Together, these funds
ment Initiative. Priorities focused on           is a collaborative effort between the US                 provide the foundation in technol-
feedstock development and production;            Department of Energy and USD.                           ogy and inventory data that is criti-
bio-based products emphasizing envi-                                                                      cal for all conservation activities.


     Michigan blueberry                          FiGure 15. Soil Survey Digitizing (SSURGO).
     Farmer
     NRCS assisted a blueberry farmer
     with installing a number of conserva-
     tion practices on her farm. Using the
     Environmental Quality Incentives
     Program (EQIP), she built an agrichemi-
     cal containment facility. The area where
     her farm is located is especially vulner-
     able to chemical leaching, given the
     sandy soils and high water table.
         Education and information will
     help farmers in her community get
     ahead. This farmer is working with
     a non-profit organization imple-
     menting an USDA Outreach and
     Technical Assistance Grant for Socially
     Disadvantaged and/or Minority Farmers.




                                                 FIGURE 16. NRCS Program support to Goal 4, by percent of total funds expended on Goal 4 activities.



                                                            Soil Survey
                                                                   33%




                                                                 Plant
                                                              Materials
                                                                   4%
                                                                                                                                      Conservation
                                                                                                                                      Technical
                                                                                                                                      Assistance
                                                               Biomass                                                                57%
                                                                   6%

     Michigan lueberry Farmer                   Source: FY2004 Budget and Performance Integration Data
                                                 from NRCS FY2006 Agency Estimate


18
mAnAgement	strAtegIes	

                G         ood management of internal
                          business processes and agency
                          resources is essential to efficient
                          program operations that pro-
                vide high-quality customers service and
                effective use of the taxpayers’ money.
                                                                President’s Management Agenda

                                                                In FY 2004, NRCS supported the
                                                                President’s Management genda
                                                                (PM) with the following strategies:

                                                                ◆ Human Capital Management - NRCS’
                                                                  2004-2008 Human Capital Plan
                NRCS Conservation Boot Camp                       served as a guide for leadership to
                                                                  use as a foundation for workforce
                In FY 2004, NRCS developed and                    decisions. In FY 2004, NRCS hired
                implemented the first Conservation Boot           135 career interns in mission criti-
                Camp held in the gency in over 40                cal occupations, of whom 52 percent
                years. The Conservation Boot Camp is              were women, minorities, and people
                a basic-level training course designed for        with disabilities. NRCS hired over
                new employees hired in technical disci-           500 students, of whom 62 percent
                plines. The pilot session was six weeks           were women, minorities and people
                in length and covered more than 40                with disabilities, and hired 77 full-
                areas of instruction encompassing field           time individuals with disabilities.
                and classroom training. The course was            The gency used incentives such as
                held at the National Training Center in           recruitment and relocation bonuses.
                Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Employ-             NRCS also developed performance
                ees attending the session represented 23          elements and standards to link agency
                States from across the nation, and the            GS-14, GS-15, and Senior Executive
                pilot was successful. NRCS will con-              Service (SES) employees to the Depart-
                duct additional sessions in FY 2005.              ment and gency strategic plans.

                                                                ◆ Financial Management - NRCS devel-
                NRCS Reorganization                               oped and implemented a recovery audit
                                                                  program, to ensure that all payments
                In September 2004, NRCS completed                 on contracts over $100,000 are audited
                an gency reorganization that realigned           and properly documented. NRCS also
                some of the agency functions and offices          completed the first phase of devel-
                and created three National Technol-               opment work on ProTracts, a web-
                ogy Support Centers (NTSCs) located               enabled application that significantly
                in Greensboro, North Carolina; Fort               improves internal controls by integrat-
                Worth, Texas; and Portland, Oregon.               ing the planning, performance, and
                The NTSCs will provide critical techni-           servicing of program contracts. Effec-
                cal leadership and support to the gency          tive October 1, 2004, NRCS assumed
                and partners. Emphasis areas include:             all administrative functions associated
                                                                  with the Environmental Quality Incen-
                ◆   nimal Waste                                  tives Program (EQIP) contracts from
                ◆   ir Quality                                   the Farm Service gency. NRCS now
                ◆   Bioenergy                                     delivers program payment information
                ◆   Grazing Lands                                 directly from ProTracts to the USD
                ◆   Social Sciences                               Foundation Financial ccounting
                ◆   Soil Quality                                  System (FFIS), virtually eliminating
                ◆   Water Quality and Quantity                    the need for manual data entry for
                ◆   Wetlands                                      EQIP contracts into FFIS. ProTracts
                ◆   Wildlife                                      provides accurate, timely, and rel-
                                                                  evant financial information to NRCS
                   The reorganization will strengthen             officials and program managers.
                technical capability and provide
                higher quality customer service.


                                                                                                       19
mAnAgement	strAtegIes…	


◆ NRCS expanded e-government activities             96 full-time equivalents (FTEs), was       tions through a data warehouse. This
  to increase work efficiencies by:                 completed, resulting in the decision       new system will support estimating and
                                                    to implement the in-house “most            reporting the environmental impacts of
     • Updating nearly 47 percent of the            efficient organization.” Projected         conservation systems and practices by
         NRCS conservation practice stan-           savings are estimated to exceed $11        linking performance items planned and
         dards to reflect the best science and      million over 5 years. Two regional         applied in the Conservation Toolkit,
         to help producers address critical         studies for soil conservation technical    ProTracts contracting software, and the
         natural resources issues such as ani-      services (SCT) and civil engineering       electronic field office technical guides.
         mal nutrient management and water          technical services (CET) functions,        This approach reduces the amount of
         and air quality.                           along with the national geological         time employees spend on reporting and
     •   Releasing three e-training courses,        analysis (G) study for a total of 453     provides more information about the
         saving the gency $1.2 million in          FTEs, are ongoing and scheduled            environmental impacts of conservation
         annual delivery costs.                     for completion in FY 2005.                 practices or groups of practices applied
     •   Deploying a web-based cost-share               NRCS submitted requests to the         by location. This system is also tied
         agreements application that reduced        Office of Management and Budget            to the common customer database in
         field contract processing time by          (OMB) and received approval for            the Service Center Information Man-
         60 percent, making more staff time         deviations from the -76 Circular.         agement System (SCIMS), allowing
         available to farmers and ranchers to       Original procedures were developed for     managers to monitor progress assisting
         apply conservation. NRCS manages           the gency’s standard studies involving    minority, small farmers and other under-
         215,000 conservation program cost-         the Brooks ct. The Brooks ct states      served groups. To better account for
         share agreements in its web-based          that bidders must have demonstrated        program costs, the gency also revised
         contracting system “ProTracts,”            competence for the type of professional    its procedures for capturing and report-
         with $1 billion in program benefits.       services required, and selection is        ing how employees use their time.
     •   Developing and deploying a USD            based on qualifications first, not cost.
         customer statement that provides           NRCS is the first gency to develop        ◆ Streamlining and Cost Savings Initiative
         producers a status report of their         procedures to combine the Brooks ct         (SCSI) - In FY 2004, NRCS began
         activity and services from NRCS            with competitive sourcing procedures.        implementing recommendations gen-
         and the Farm Service gency (FS).                                                      erated as a result of the Streamlining
     •   Deploying a Soil Data Mart to           ◆ Budget and Performance Integration -          and Cost Savings Initiative (SCSI). In
         streamline the deployment and use          NRCS has developed a comprehensive           September 2003, the gency approved
         of soil information inside and out-        system for ensuring program account-         25 recommendations that represented
         side the agency.                           ability and helping the gency meet          1,363 suggestions submitted from
     •   Developing an initial version of a         the President’s Management genda            NRCS employees at the field, area, and
         Web Soil Survey, enabling users to         initiative for budget and performance        State offices. Employees serving at the
         tailor a document containing soil          criteria. This system measures progress      field level account for over 82 percent
         information for their particular           toward the gency’s strategic, perfor-       of the NRCS workforce. The sugges-
         purpose.                                   mance, and business plans. The data          tions approved covered areas such as:
                                                    from the NRCS performance man-
◆ Competitive Sourcing - By the close of            agement and financial management             • Field Office Operations
  FY 2004, approximately 37 percent of              systems are organized and displayed in       • ccountability
  NRCS competitive full-time equiva-                the gency’s Conservation Informa-           • Program Implementation
  lents (FTEs) listed on the Federal                tion System (CIS) by program. The            • Communications Systems
  ctivities Inventory Reform ct of                CIS allows managers at all levels of         • Training
  1998 (FIR) Inventory as Commercial               the organization to monitor program          • Technology
  and available for study have been or are          progress, costs, and obligations by pro-     • dministration-Management
  currently being studied. The gency’s             gram. The gency’s accountability sys-         Services
  competitive sourcing initiatives are              tem has been featured at over a dozen        • dministration-Financial
  linked to the USD business and stra-             performance management forums                  Management
  tegic plans. The initiatives promote              around the country.                          • Information Technology
  an efficient, high-performing, diverse,           In FY 2004, NRCS continued to
  competitively sourced workforce,               re-engineer its web-based performance            Roughly 77 percent of the suggestions
  aligned with USD mission priorities.          measurement system, and is transition-        submitted were approved. s a result
      The competition conducted                  ing from a system that relies almost          of the streamlining effort, NRCS has
  at the National Cartographic and               exclusively on direct data entry to one       begun redirecting funds and staff years
  Geospatial Center (NCGC), covering             that extracts data from other applica-        to higher priority conservation tasks.

20
PerformAnce	mAnAgement	And	QuAlIty	AssurAnce	
                Fy 2004 Performance data                       ing the first quarter, and approxi-
                                                               mately 340,000 conservation plan
                The data on performance included               records were uploaded in FY 2004.
                in this report are final and complete.
                Performance data were reported by            2. Conservation Systems Guides - NRCS
                NRCS staff at the field level through           brought the Conservation Systems
                the Performance Results System (PRS),           Guides (CSG) application on-line in
                a component of the NRCS Integrated              October, 2003. Training was conducted
                ccountability System. Performance data         during the first quarter. Since January
                are collected on measures that are indica-      2004, roughly 16,000 guides, con-
                tors of annual progress toward strategic        taining 32,000 conservation systems,
                goals. These indicators are conservation        have been entered into the system.
                practices and systems that are defined
                in NRCS field office technical guides.       3. Performance Results System (PRS) - The
                                                                gency developed and brought PRS
                                                                2004 on-line in November 2003.
                Performance Planning for Fy 2005                Training was conducted during the
                                                                first quarter. PRS 2004 mines con-
                In FY 2004, NRCS implemented                    servation plan and practice applica-
                extensive improvements in both its              tion data from the NCP database.
                performance reporting system and its
                performance measures. When imple-            4. ProTracts - ProTracts is a web-
                mented in FY 2005, these changes should         enabled application that streamlines
                result in higher quality data that bet-         the application and contracting
                ter documents the benefits produced             process for conservation programs.
                by gency conservation programs.                Over 100,000 EQIP cost-share
                   The new fully integrated system draws        application records were loaded in
                the majority of its data from transaction       ProTracts, and over 50,000 cost-
                reporting systems. Data about application       share agreements were created.
                of conservation practices and manage-              NRCS migrated prior-year EQIP
                ment systems is extracted automatically         contracts from the Farm Service
                from the web-based conservation plan-           gency (FS) System 36 to ProTracts
                ning software used in field offices and         to further streamline workflow
                from the contracts management software.         in the field. Personnel can now
                   For FYs 2005 and 2006, NRCS                  make contract payments through a
                has developed new program-specific              ProTracts/FFIS interface. Nearly $34
                performance measures. These mea-                million of payments were made in
                sures represent the gency’s effort to          the CSP application in FY 2004.
                continue refining measures to more
                directly focus on the effect that gency
                services have on natural resources.          Evaluating Program Performance

                                                             The NRCS conducts internal reviews
                Performance Management                       and evaluations through a national
                Components                                   Oversight and Evaluation Staff. The
                                                             following reviews were conducted:
                Key performance management
                components developed, updated,               1. Cost of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
                and/or implemented in FY 2004:                  Easements - The review determined the
                                                                reasons why costs of easements under
                1. National Conservation Planning               WRP have increased since program
                   (NCP) Database - NRCS brought                inception. The review found the cost
                   the National Conservation Planning           of easements varies throughout the
                   (NCP) database on-line in October,           Nation, with the most expensive ease-
                   2003. Training was conducted dur-            ments occurring within the northeast

                                                                                                     21
     States. Easement costs in NRCS             The PRT examines different aspects                         Customer Satisfaction
     are rising in proportion to increas-       of program performance to identify
     ing agricultural land values, and the      strengths and weaknesses of a program.                      NRCS measured customer satisfaction
     increased land values are linked to            In FY 2004, PRT assessments were                       with the Wildlife Habitat Incentives
     inflation and increasing demand on         conducted on the Environmental Quality                      Program (WHIP), and the Environ-
     rural lands for alternative uses such as   Incentives Program, the Watershed Pro-                      mental Quality Incentives Program
     recreation and development. Wildlife       tection and Flood Prevention Programs,                      (EQIP) using the merican Cus-
     Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) -        the Emergency Watershed Protection                          tomer Satisfaction Index (CSI).
     The review evaluated whether program       Program, and the Resource Conservation                         The CSI for the WHIP and EQIP
     implementation is meeting legislative      and Development Program. In addition,                       customers was 77 percent and 75 percent,
     and policy intent, and if practices are    the Snow Survey and Plant Materials                         respectively, on a 0-100 scale (Figure 17).
     directed where wildlife is the primary     Programs were reassessed. ll of the pro-                   These scores are higher than the national
     concern. The findings indicated that       grams, except the Emergency Watershed                       private sector CSI of 74.3 percent, and
     cost-share agreements can be improved      Protection Program and the Plant Materi-                    above the private sector Services score of
     to meet wildlife habitat objectives.       als Program, were rated highly in areas                     74.7 percent (as of the end of the first
                                                of Purpose, Planning, and Management.                       quarter of 2004). The scores are also well
2. Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)              lso, results for the reassessment of the                   above the aggregate Federal CSI score
   Phase One, Ranking Criterion - This          Snow Survey Program improved the rat-                       of 70.9 percent as of December of 2003.
   review assessed the ranking sheets           ing from “results not demonstrated” for                        These studies indicate how custom-
   developed by States in determin-             FY 2003 to a “moderately effective rat-                     ers evaluate NRCS activities and identify
   ing the criteria that were used; what        ing” and helped USD meet its “proud                        which activities have the most impact
   percent of the points were allocated         to be” goal during FY 2004 under the                        on the perception of quality. NRCS
   to conversion; to existing grazing           Budget and Performance Integration                          will use this information to guide future
   operations, and for plant and animal         Initiative. OMB concluded, however,                         efforts to improve quality, customer
   biodiversity. The review found wide          that new, more outcome-related measures                     satisfaction, and the desired outcome.
   variation in ranking criteria used by        and program goals were needed for all
   States. Recommendations included             of the programs that were assessed in FY
   adding cost effectiveness and provid-        2004, with the exception of the Snow
   ing a national ranking template to           Survey Program. In addition, program
   States to improve the ranking system.        efficiency measures need to be devel-
                                                oped or refined, along with establishing
3. Beginning Farmer and Rancher                 a baseline and targets for all programs.
   Participation in the Environmental                copy of the PRT assess-
   Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).           ments may be found at http://www.
   The review was carried out to deter-         whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/
   mine if the “beginning farmer or             fy2006/pma/agriculture.pdf.
   rancher” designation was being misin-
   terpreted and resulting in higher cost
   share rates for EQIP contracts. The
   findings for this review identified that     FIGURE 17. Customer Satisfaction.
   the beginning farmer and rancher des-        85%
   ignation was not being misinterpreted.
                                                80%

Program Assessment
Rating tool (PARt)                              75%


In support of the President’s Budget
                                                70%
and Performance Integration Initia-
tive, the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) developed the Program              65%
ssessment Rating Tool (PRT) for
use in the budget formulation process,
                                                60%
beginning with the FY 2004 budget.                          CTA (2001)                      WHIP (2004)            EQIP (2004)         Other USDA (2004)
                                                Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), 2004                                  Programs


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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimina-
tion in all its programs and activities on the basis of race,
color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex,
marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual
orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or
because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any
public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to
all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative
means for communication of program information (raille, large
print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at
(202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director,
Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washing-
ton, D.C. 20250–9410, or call (800) 795–3272 (voice) or (202)
720–6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and
employer.


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