"Defining exactly what conservation technical assistance is and does, and reaching agreement on a definition, is difficult. Broadly defined, it is information, technical expertise, and a delivery system for providing assistance to landowners and users with respect to conservation and use of natural resources. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - the federal agency that provides this assistance - defines it as 'getting conservation on the ground.' While this definition lacks specificity, it is the one most often used. Technical assistance has been discussed extensively at congressional hearings on agriculture conservation. Producers, ranchers, environmentalists, and wildlife advocates continue to raise the issue of technical assistance and the need or desire for additional support. Though Congress is to discuss conservation technical assistance in the 2007 farm bill, other issues related to it exist outside of the traditional farm bill debate. A broader perspective on technical assistance raises questions about the capacity of the current technical assistance structure as well as future limitations. A perceived lack of definition and understanding of what technical assistance is and is not creates questions around this capacity that are not easily answered or understood."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34069
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