Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Nicholas Kacher

Reader 2

Nayana Bose

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Within the United States, rural communities have historically suffered from poverty. These communities are typically economically dependent on natural resources, and specifically on agriculture and agriculture-adjacent industries. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) directs millions of dollars each year to natural resource conservation programs. This paper asks whether the different types of Assistance from NRCS programs could affect poverty and income metrics. Using state-level Assistance data from the NRCS, the metrics of poverty rate and median household income from the U.S. Census Bureau, and location quotient data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, I determine that Technical Assistance predicts a lower poverty rate and higher median household income across all states regardless of the states’ concentration of employment in agriculture. Financial Assistance is not as strong of a predictor but does predict higher median household income for almost all groups of states. Financial Assistance conversely predicts higher poverty rates and lower median household income for the states which are least dependent on agriculture. These findings have potentially important implications for the allocation of Assistance funding by the NRCS.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.