As a nation we need to renew our acquaintance with the land and reaffirm our faith in its continuity of productiveness--when properly treated. If we are bold in our thinking, courageous in accepting new ideas, and willing to work with instead of against our land, we shall find in conservation farming an avenue to the greatest food production the world has ever know--not only for the war, but for the peace that is to follow.

-Hugh Hammond Bennett, in his presidential address in Washington, DC, 1943

Hugh Hammond Bennett

When the Dust Bowl swept across America in the 1930's, soil and water conservation became a national priority. Congress understood, however, that conservation would not succeed without the support of our nation's private landowners. So, they recommended that all states allow local landowners to form soil and water conservation districts as independent subdivisions of state government.

Today, there are nearly 3,000 conservation districts in the United States, and 47 of those are in New Mexico. The unique strength of conservation districts is that they are able to coordinate assistance from public, private, local, state, and federal sources, in order to develop locally-driven solutions to local natural resource concerns. This includes conserving and developing natural resources, providing for flood control, preserving wildlife, and promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the population.

Visit the New Mexico Department of Agriculture for information about New Mexico conservation districts, and the National Association of Conservation Districts for more history.