350 Agriculture:Eliminate the Conservation Technical Assistance Program

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings are expressed as budget authority and were calculated using the FY 2014 enacted spending levels as found on page 61 of USDA, “Fiscal Year 2015: Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan, U.S. Department of Agriculture.” The FY 2014 spending level was increased at the same rate as discretionary spending for 2016–2025, according to the CBO’s most recent August 2014 baseline spending projections.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

Eliminate the Conservation Technical Assistance Program. This proposal saves $725 million in 2016, and $7.7 billion over 10 years.


Eliminate Conservation Technical Assistance Program – not a priority with $18 trillion debt

The Natural Resources Conservation Service runs a costly program to offer technical assistance to landowners on natural resource management. This assistance includes help in maintaining private lands, complying with laws, enhancing recreational activities, and improving the aesthetic character of private land. The services are provided to both governmental and private entities.

Private landowners, not government, are the best stewards of property. If necessary, they can seek private solutions to conservation challenges. Federal taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize advice that private (and public) landowners should be paying for on their own.

Eliminate Conservation Technical Assistance Program – not a priority with $18 trillion debt

Contributing Expert

Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow in agricultural policy.

See publications by Daren Bakst

Daren BakstResearch Fellow in Agricultural Policy

Heritage Expert

Diane Katz, who has analyzed and written on public policy issues for more than two decades, is a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation.

See publications by Diane Katz

Diane KatzResearch Fellow in Regulatory Policy

Additional Reading