Skip Navigation

About Us

Helping People Help the Land



Photograph of Mr. J. Xavier Montoya, New Mexico State Conservationist
J. Xavier Montoya
State Conservationist

J. Xavier Montoya became the State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New Mexico on Feb. 6, 2012.

Mr. Montoya began his Soil Conservation Service (now known as NRCS) career as a co-op student in the Albuquerque Field Office in New Mexico.  He also worked as a co-op student in various other NRCS locations throughout the state.

He is a graduate of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Range Science.  After graduating from NMSU he accepted an assignment as the Rangeland Management Specialist for the Navajo Nation Team while assigned to the NRCS Window Rock field office in Arizona.  A few years later, he accepted a position as the NRCS Rangeland Management Specialist in Lordsburg, NM. 

He later returned to Douglas, Ariz. as the District Conservationist (DC) in the NRCS field office.  Mr. Montoya used his skills and experiences throughout each of his assignments to work with the conservation district leaders and staff in achieving local natural resource goals.

While assigned to the NRCS Douglas office he was asked to accept collateral duty assignments to serve concurrently as the Hispanic Emphasis Program Manager (HEPM) for Arizona, and the NRCS West Region.  In November 2000 he was selected as the National HEPM for NRCS and moved to the NRCS National Headquarters (NHQ) in Washington, D.C.  He worked closely with all NRCS HEPM’s, and NRCS senior staff to help increase the representation of Hispanics and all minority groups in the NRCS and Department of Agriculture.

In October 2002 he was asked to serve an extended detail as Resource Conservationist on the Technical Service Provider Group at the NHQ where he helped with policy review and development.  While working in the Technical Service Provider Group he helped develop Memorandums of Understanding for recommending organizations.  He also helped to convey and clarify information relevant to the Technical Service Provider process to national organizations that could have been affected by the new process.  Some of these national organizations included the Society for Range Management, Land Improvement Contractors of America, American Society of Agronomy, University of Tennessee, The Wildlife Society, and Society of American Foresters.

In March 2004, he began serving as Deputy State Conservationist in Indiana.  In that role he works with NRCS Leadership and staff, conservation district leaders, and other partners to deliver technical assistance and conservation programs to agricultural producers.

About New Mexico NRCS

NRCS Mission

Helping people help the land.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works in partnership with the American people to conserve natural resources on private lands. We help land users approach conservation planning and implementation with an understanding of how natural resources relate to each other and to all of us, and how our activities affect those resources.

The NRCS, formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service, was created as a national response to the Dust Bowl catastrophe of the 1930's. Hugh Hammond Bennett, the agency's first chief, convinced Congress that soil erosion was a national problem. Bennett explained to Congress the need to have a permanent agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture that specifically responds to private landowners’ stewardship opportunities and responsibilities. Congress agreed and created the Soil Erosion Service (changing to the Soil Conservation Service and currently the Natural Resource Conservation Service -- NRCS).  NRCS built a partnership of federal agencies with local communities to help farmers and ranchers conserve their land.

NRCS is a forward-thinking Agency, recognizing the issues of today and at the forefront of helping solve the challenges of tomorrow.  In the beginning the focus was on the soil.  Now, NRCS responds to the broader scope that encompasses Soil, Water, Air, Plants, and Animals (SWAPA) as well as Energy on America's private lands.

NRCS Services and Products

The NRCS New Mexico team of employees and volunteers provide professional and friendly service and products to managers and owners of private lands.  This helps private landowners them make more effective and efficient use of their natural resources.

Technical Assistance for Conservation Planning

Our Resource Technical Services specialists help build the foundation for sound resource conservation practices – the Conservation Plan.  They provide technical assistance to help customers decide which conservation practices and systems will work best for them while keeping within their budget. This planning assistance ranges from a site specific plan to one that covers a larger geographic area.

Technical Assistance for Application of Conservation

Technical and cost-share assistance is available through NRCS to help customers apply planned conservation practices and systems. This assistance includes designs, specifications, construction and management assistance, as well as financial assistance for practice and system installation.

Resources Information and Technology

This includes the natural resource inventories and assessments that NRCS conducts to indicate status, condition, and trends of natural resources on private lands. It also includes science-based, technical tools, technical guides and performance specifications and standards that assure quality and consistency of conservation planning and application.

NRCS's role is to support and facilitate local producers to make the best possible decisions based on good resource information.  This applies whether it is a grazing management plan or layout for an irrigation system.

Customers Are Not the Only Ones Who Benefit

Ultimately, every person who drinks water and eats food benefits from the work NRCS does. The benefits translate beyond a landscape into benefits to rural communities.

Individuals and groups who own or manage private land in New Mexico are those who most directly use our products and services:

  • Farmers, ranchers, and others who manage privately owned lands

  • Acequia associations and water management groups

  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts

  • Local and state government elected and appointed officials

  • NRCS government and non-government partners, special interest groups and non-government organizations
A Staff of Technically Sound, Field-Based Employees

The strength of NRCS is in its workforce---the men and women who work side-by-side with the owners and managers of America's privately owned land.

These are the NRCS employees who have the technical expertise and field experience to help land users solve their natural resource challenges and maintain and improve their ability to thrive economically. NRCS employees are highly skilled in many scientific and technical specialties, including soil science, soil conservation, forestry, engineering, geology, hydrology, cultural resources, Geographic Information Science (GIS), and economics.


NRCS collaborates with many partners to set conservation goals, to provide the maximum technical assistance to people who work the land, and to leverage the federal contributions to natural resource conservation on private lands. These partners include:

  • Conservation districts

  • County governments

  • State and other federal agencies

  • NRCS Earth Team volunteers

  • Agricultural and environmental groups

  • Professional societies

The 47 conservation districts in New Mexico have an integral role in achieving natural resource conservation success in the state. In some aspects, the SWCD’s help extend the NRCS mission by helping to monitor how the land is being used and keep us informed of potential and real problems impacting natural resource use.

The State Technical Committee in New Mexico is an approximately 75- member group that fulfills a key partnership and advisory function. These individuals provide information, analyses, and recommendations on implementing U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs. Membership on the committee is open to representatives of private organizations and businesses, state and federal agencies, and individuals who are knowledgeable or have expertise in natural resource conservation.