Many federal, state, and local agencies rely on the same technical or practice standards to implement statewide conservation programs.

However, this diverse group must deal with different mandates, goals, policies, deadlines, and political pressures. The Standards Oversight Council (SOC) is charged with working through these inherent challenges and overseeing the process for developing effective technical standards that protect Wisconsin’s natural resources. Through an interagency work planning process, SOC helps focus limited public resources where they are needed most.

SOC 25th Logo

The SOC governing body (the "Council") consists of representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), UW-Madison Division of Extension, WI Land+Water, and Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). SOC work is currently funded by NRCS, DNR, DATCP, and voluntary annual donations from county land conservation departments, with contributions of staff time, expertise, and non-monetary resources from UW-Madison Division of Extension, WI Land+Water, WisDOT, county land conservation department staff, municipal government staff, and private sector technicians.

SOC is a successful example of collaborating agencies and integrating resources to effectively address critical issues that protect our state’s resources.

The Council and our Executive Director oversee the SOC Program Manager, who provides programmatic leadership, coordinates and facilitates the standard work teams, and manages outreach and communication efforts.

“Soil and water health is a key part of the foundation of Wisconsin’s $104.8 billion agriculture industry. For 25 years, the Standards Oversight Council has been a critical partnership that helps guide and support the development and implementation of conservation practices across the state, including on working farmland. DATCP is proud to participate in this effort to ensure the responsible use of our state’s land and water resources.”

Celebrating 25 Years of Collaboration

SOC’s 25th anniversary—and the importance of collaboration—was reinforced by renewing a Memorandum of Agreement in 2020, signed by conservation leaders in Wisconsin including NRCS, DATCP, DNR, UW-Madison Division of Extension, WisDOT, and WI Land+Water.

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Visit the SOC Website

To find out more about the process for creating and revising technical standards related to agricultural and urban stormwater runoff practices in Wisconsin, check out the SOC website.