The Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) leverages high-resolution geo-spatial data to help local farming communities better address their soil and water conservation needs.



The ACPF database has been updated to include data from the 2020 field season! Updates include: adding the 2020 NASS Cropland Data Layer (CDL) to each watershed’s Crop History table; incorporating these data into the GenLU field in the LU6 table;  updating the GenLU (6-year crop management) field with data from 2015-2020; and updating the soils data to the most current version of the NRCS Soil Survey (July 2020). Learn more



The ACPF is being used in hundreds of watersheds in states across the Corn Belt to inform and engage local producers in agricultural conservation.

ACPF input data is available for much of the Midwest and the database is constantly growing. Currently, ACPF data is available for Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and parts of Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Plus, with ACPF Version 3, users are able to build soils and land use databases where not available! Find out if ACPF input data is available for your watershed.

Curious for more examples of where ACPF is being used? Explore the ACPF use map displaying watersheds that have reported using ACPF. If you are already using ACPF, let us know and we’ll ensure your watershed is included! Submit your watershed to our ACPF in Action map using this form.

Explore the ACPF in Action Map

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS


The ACPF is being used by a diversity of stakeholders and in a variety of different situations. No matter the local context, ACPF can help you reach your goals.

The ACPF is used by local conservation planners, GIS technicians, watershed coordinators, agency staff and producer-led groups to:

  • engage landowners, conservation managers, crop advisors, drainage system managers and other stakeholders in the watershed planning process
  • start conversations with stakeholders and stress the importance of soil health
  • determine which sub-watersheds to focus on and which landowners to engage
  • determine conservation solutions at the field scale
  • transition watershed projects from demonstration to implementation by identifying priority areas



Facilitates targeted conservation

The ACPF identifies and addresses high-risk areas enabling conservation efficiency and effectiveness.

Supports watershed planning

The ACPF identifies high-risk areas and determines solutions that can serve as the foundation for watershed plans. The output maps generated through ACPF show the watershed as a whole, simplifying area-wide planning.

Saves time and resources

The ACPF takes the guesswork out of talking to producers and installing conservation practices and streamlines conservation planning.

Enables local-level flexibility

The ACPF is non-prescriptive, allowing landowners and local stakeholders to choose the option that is right for their land, their community, and their watershed.

Promotes stakeholder engagement

The ACPF facilitates conversation between diverse stakeholders with different perspectives, issues and priorities. The ACPF output maps can be used in conversations with producers, drainage authorities, county supervisors, and program managers, to name a few.

Provides scientific validity to conservation funding opportunities

The ACPF output maps help conservation professionals scientifically justify recommendations and proposals to producers and funders. With ACPF, grant applicants can prioritize and develop potential projects for funding based on outputs.