For generations, children have been singing about the farmer, his wife and
kids, and even the mouse and the cheese. But today, a modern farmer is more
likely to be using the mouse on his computer (or more realistically, a
smartphone or tablet) than dancing around a small wooded valley with his family
and farm animals.
The website of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, nrcs.usda.gov, has been
evolving to keep pace with the needs of today's farmer, says NRCS Webmaster
"Our mission is to provide American farmers, ranchers and other visitors with
the tools and resources they are looking for on a site that is easy to use and
The most-effective websites combine clear and readable text, usability,
functionality and simple navigation. NRCS writes the text for targeted
audiences, which includes farmers and ranchers, as well as people who use NRCS
online tools, such as Web Soil Survey, PLANTS database and COMET-FarmTM.
Recently, the agency created a new Get Started with NRCS
page. This new webpage helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners learn how
they can make improvements to their land with conservation.
This webpage features the five steps to getting assistance from NRCS, so that
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can know about the process of applying
for assistance from the comfort of their own home, barn, tractor or wherever
else they hop online.
Also, NRCS revamped its About and Drought Resources pages
and created a Resources for Small Farms
page. About NRCS provides an overview of what NRCS offers,
including those popular tools that bring many visitors to the website.
Drought Resources houses information on assistance and resources that can
help farms and ranches be more resilient to drought. And finally, the Resources
for Small Farms page pulls together information and resources that may be of
interest to owners and managers of smaller farms, such as information on
organics and seasonal high tunnels.
NRCS uses a number of tools to help create these pages, including site
traffic and customer experience information. "We've found that more than 61
percent of people coming to our website were new visitors, many of whom were
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners looking for information on conservation
programs," O'Halloran said.
NRCS has about 13,000 visits per day on its national website. Some of the
most popular pages deal with soils, Web Soil Survey and the Farm Bill.
"We hope you enjoy these new and revamped pages, and we welcome feedback on
how we can improve our 'digital' service center," says O'Halloran. "We're
excited to have the opportunity to help you get started with