The Soil Conservation District Program recognized that new farming methods must be accepted and enforced by the farmers on the land, giving local citizens the opportunity to shape soil and water conservation and resource planning in their communities.
According to the USDA Handbook "The Preparation of the Standard State Conservation District Law," a conservation district was to be established by a majority vote of the farmers within a district's boundaries (USDA, 1990). No district was to be formed without farmer approval through a referendum process. To ensure buy-in, supervisors of the district were to be elected by the farmers themselves. The intent was for the districts to function as "local units of government, established by the people, governed by the people through their elected supervisors" and then given authority to develop and carry out local erosion control plans district wide (USDA, 1990). Today Kentucky's conservation districts supervisors are elected on the general ballot directly by their constituents within the district boundaries they serve.